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green softball sitting on home plate
You play an entire season, bust your butt on the field of play, give up fun activities to get in more practice—then at the biggest point in your career, you give up a chance at the championship just because of a player on the opposing team?

Essentially, that's what happened in Arizona:

Phoenix Catholic school forfeits baseball championship game because opponent has female player

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 [Sultzbach], 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.

More below the twisted Cheeto:

Our Lady of Sorrows is affiliated with the Society of Saint Pius X, ultra-conservative Catholics who disagree with the larger Church over "liberal" policies. (The article said that they broke away from the church, but commenters challenged that statement.) Perhaps a parallel would be that they're the tea party of the Catholics but likely with better spelling and grammar.

Fox News (via Reuters) reported a school official as saying:

"Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty...Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls."
Yeah, profound respect only when they're sitting on the sidelines cheering. The young woman's mother put it more bluntly:
"It wasn't that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it's that (they believe) that a girl's place is not on a field."
Last I looked, baseball wasn't typically a contact sport, unless you've got a player sliding in hard to second on a steal or to break up a double play. There've been cases in the past of male wrestlers not wanting to compete against women in their weight class, and the occasional high school football kicker who's female, but Paige was deemed good enough to make the team with the young men. The young woman played softball in junior high but her high school didn't have a girl's softball team, so she tried out and won her spot on the boys' baseball team.

Sultzbach is only 15—so Our Lady of Sorrows is likely going to face this again for at least another 2 to 3 years. But worse, what happens when these young men leave the shelter of their school and go out into the Real World? They're going to be competing with women in college and the workplace, for recognition, promotions and the like. They're not going to be able to tell their boss that it's against their moral code to compete against a woman because they have such a "profound respect" for them.

Kudos to Mesa Prep for not making Sultzbach sit out the biggest game of the year just to satisfy another school's prejudices; I wish she hadn't sat out the two regular season games but perhaps it was her choice in which case good for her—she showed far more respect for the Catholic school than the school did for her. I just hope that there's not some sort of taint or asterisk on the team's championship due to the forfeit.  And those boys are in for a rude awakening when they get out in the Real World and find that women are their equals on the playing fields, in the classrooms and in the boardrooms ... and even on the altar in some churches.

Originally posted to Just a thought... on Fri May 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by Friends of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and Daily Kos.

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