Girls vs. Boys … in Sports

What do you think?

PHOENIX — Instead of playing in a championship baseball game, Paige Sultzbach and her team won’t even make it to the dugout.

A Phoenix school that was scheduled to play the 15-year-old Mesa girl and her male teammates forfeited the game rather than face a female player.

Our Lady of Sorrows bowed out of Thursday night’s game against Mesa Preparatory Academy in the Arizona Charter Athletic Association championship. The game had been scheduled at Phoenix College.

Paige, who plays second base at Mesa Prep, had to sit out two previous games against Our Lady of Sorrows out of respect for its beliefs. But having her miss the championship was not an option for Mesa Prep.

Paige’s mother, Pamela Sultzbach, told The Arizona Republic, which first reported the story, the team found out about the forfeit Wednesday.

“This is not a contact sport; it shouldn’t be an issue,” Pamela Sultzbach said. “It wasn’t that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it’s that (they believe) a girl’s place is not on a field.”

Officials at Our Lady of Sorrows declined comment. In a written statement Thursday, the school said the decision to forfeit was consistent with a policy prohibiting co-ed sports.


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  • T

    Is it just me, or is the school’s name just perfect?

  • Joe Canner

    Hmmm….Catholics using their religious beliefs to deny non-Catholics the right to participate in sports…how ironic.

  • RJS


    In fairness this isn’t a Catholic group or a mainstream group of any sort. According to the story:

    Our Lady of Sorrows is run by the U.S. branch of the Society of Saint Pius X. The group represents conservative, traditional priests who broke from the Catholic church in the 1980s.

  • Jon Altman

    When I was in fourth grade, I heard that girls have cooties. Maybe that was what the Our Lady of Sorrows administration was worried about.

  • Jeremy

    I saw this on the local news and just had to sigh and shake my head. Arizona is chock full of crazy, so this is hardly surprising. My intro to the state was listening to a preacher on the radio talk about a “popular question” of whether it was ok or not for Christians to celebrate Christmas.

    As RJS pointed out, we’re not talking a mainstream group. That won’t matter to anyone on the outside looking in, but it’s something.

  • DRT

    I especially love the detail that the team was undefeated going into this game, and that they played this the Sorrow team twice during the regular season sans girl [the 2+2 is they beat the Sorrow team twice without her]

  • Joe Canner

    RJS, thanks for the clarification, that helps. I didn’t think it was possible for a subgroup of Catholics to be *more* conservative on gender issues.

  • Roger

    Would major league baseball react any better? Perhaps she can help the Cubs?

  • DRT

    Joe Canner, Oh how I wish Grandma and Grandpa were still alive. I had to sit through endless conversations of how brother so and so joined this sect and sister so and so did this so now so and so thinks so and so…..

    As monolithic as the RCC is at the top, they allow great diversity in the ranks.

  • DRT

    I have to say, the each Grandma’s and Grandpa’s family had more than 10 children. And each of those had quite a few. My father did not even know most of his cousins.

  • DRT

    I wish there was edit.

    Well, at least the ones not in nunnery and brotherhood had multiple children 🙂

  • I hope this isn’t a case of parents “using” their kids to further the parents’ agenda. I think it’s ridiculous when parents try to force a school administration to allow their son to play on the girls’ volleyball team or their daughter on the boys’ baseball team. I have no problem with co-ed sports, but I don’t think every sport has to be co-ed.

  • This is classic sexism. They learn it young.

  • Peter #7
    In junior high, Paige played softball and volleyball. Because Mesa Prep does not have a girls softball team, she tried out for the boys baseball team and received support from her coach and her fellow teammates.

  • Mike DeLong

    I wonder…is it a boys’ league? How many other baseball teams in the league have girls on them? Does Mesa Prep have a softball team? Are there boys on any of the league’s softball teams? Are there boys on Mesa Prep’s volleyball team?

  • Mike DeLong

    Ah, I see Lawrence had already answered one of my questions – Mesa Prep does not have a softball team.

  • As a high school pastor in Mesa, with families/students that are part of Mesa Prep, it’s been fascinating to watch this story quickly become national headlines. What I found particularly impressive was the young woman’s response: she was respectful and firm even in the midst of clear discrimination. She played by the rules–she sat out of the previous two games because they were away games at Our Lady of Sorrow’s field, and thus she submitted to their request to not play–but also stood up for what was right at the appropriate time when Our Lady of Sorrow’s did not reciprocate the respect she had given them. So I’m proud of her, and quite hopeful for her future.

  • RobS

    I think T (#1) said it best… hilarious. Yeah, for baseball seems like it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. It sounds like the “policy” they have on the books isn’t very clear.

    I don’t think this should be the rule in most places where teams can be fielded or opportunities to play on the same-sex teams does exist — but for non-contact sports in a smaller environment, if the players are able, then some flexibility to let the good athletes like Ms. Paige there play.

  • Matt Edwards

    I think there are positives all around in this story. Kudos to Mesa for forfeiting during the regular season rather than putting Our Lady of Sorrows in a situation where they had to violate their conscience. Kudos to OLS for sticking to their integrity with the championship on the line.

    There doesn’t seem to be any sour grapes or inflammatory language from either side. I say, “Way to live in peace with those who disagree with you!”