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Would you let your son play high school field hockey? - Page 3

post #41 of 73
Thread Starter 
So my cousin and mom got back from the game a few hours ago and my mom also spent some time after the game talking with the coach just to see what the situation is. I guess a lot of what some of you were saying matches up with what the coach told her too.

First off my cousin did get some cheering, booing, heckling, catcalling, but he had been warned about that and it was expected. Boys on girls teams are really not liked by some people and even though he never played, just the fact that he had the uniform on and sat on the bench with the team was enough to upset some people, perhaps because they know he hopes to play too.

The girls on his team though were apparently awesome. They cheered him on, they huddled around him protectively at times, they included him in rally calls and so on and my mom told me in private that she actually cried a little over that about the way the team accepted him.

How did he feel. Very nervous at first and exposed. He said he never really lost consciousness of how he was dressed except a few times when he was lost in the game. At the end he was kind of wanting to get back into the changing room and change but the coach wanted to introduce him to the opposing team's coach and players (more on that in a bit) and then my mom got talking to the coach. He ended up coming home in his uniform because they were locking everything up. Groundsguy by the way looked at him in a very disgusted manner according to my mom.

Why did the coach make a point of introducing him to the other team? She told my mom when she asked that whether he ends up playing ultimately depends on the district and she wants to get as many friends as she can in making the case and not enemies. She said she intends to have every team coach meet my cousin face to face wearing his uniform and the AD too. She told my mom that sometimes the biggest obstacles to the boys playing is that people fear they will change the game, for the worse, disrupt it etc. She wants to show them my cousin is playing along with the 'rules' and is trying to fit in and not disrupt. She said something a bit odd but I get what she means, I just don't get how it works in practice. She said that as long as they see a boy sitting on the bench it's like a red flag to a ball, but one day if they just sort of look and don't see him but another player then that's the day he's won them over. She said it's all down to him to fit in and prove himself. She told my mom that in another district a boy didn't play for 2 seasons but practiced with his team and wore the uniform to every event the girls attended, not just games but car washes and fund raisers and he even helped out for two summers at a hockey camp, yes wearing a skirt! everything to prove himself part of the team. The district finally relented because he was doing more to promote girls field hockey than a lot of the girls who were playing. Basically she told my mom and cousin he needed to be patient and probably wouldn't play this year but if he quits now she won't take him back. It's a test for her too and she is honest with that. She says she had a boy ask about joining before but quit before he even started.

As the new "girl" my cousin came home with the kit of all the other girls and has to launder it. A rite of passage.

He also came home with an away team kit. The next game for them is on Saturday away and will be a test for him in front of an away crowd though he said he doesn't know if that would be better or worse since he doesn't know these people. The away kit is darker and has a black pleated skirt, again not a kilt though! I have to say this skirt looks even more feminine than the other one though and I still feel how I feel about him having to wear it. He might be knuckling down but I feel bad that he has to.

The big tests coming up for him are tomorrow. How will class mates react after he has "come out" so to speak. He has done it now and can't really go back on having done it ever. How will he deal with the away game on Sat. I am going to it but he will be traveling with the team. Then there is another away game next Weds.

I have a question for those ladies who knew guys who played on teams. Another girl (not related to my cousins team) said that they would change at lunch for away games and wear their uniforms during afternoon class. I really hope my cousin does not have to endure that. With the guys who played on the teams that people knew, did they have to do that or not?

Other stuff that the coach said that matches up with what people said here. Uniforms are non negotiable and that is decided at the district level. They are very very strict on it. She did go on about expense of changing but also said that it was counterproductive to the argument for boys to join. In her opinion the argument that more boys would join if the kilt was not a requirement pressuposes that those in charge want more boys to join the girl's field hockey teams. In her opinion they don't and more than that they don't want boys who don't accept that they have joined a girl's field hockey team. Basically an acid test is that if the boy complains about the uniform then he is disrepecting the team and the sport of girl's field hockey. She said people might think that the skirt is all about deterring boys (like me I guess) but she insisted it wasn't that, but it was about tradition and team identity and so on. But then in the same breath she spun that around and said that it was a litmus test too.

I still feel like boys are caught in a catch 22 then. The litmus test of committment conveniently maintains the status quo.

But for the moment no harm has happened so it'll go on and he did seem okay with things mostly tonight, so fingers crossed for tomorrow.
post #42 of 73
I think your cousin is awesome! Just think how much courage and conviction he must have in order to follow his passion - despite obstacles in his way. Good for him.

I also think it's totally silly that there is a stigma against men wearing skirts. Women wear both skirts AND pants, and no one blinks an eye. But, when a man puts on a skirt, it's like this huge deal. I just don't get it.

I wouldn't have a problem with this. But, then again, when I was a nanny, and the 6 year old boy wanted to wear his sister's dress - I was like "ok, whatever." (His parents were fine with it too, btw, I wasn't making any monumental decisions alone.)

I'm in the "I'll let my kid where whatever he/she wants, and play in whatever sport he/she wants" camp.
post #43 of 73
Personally I think that this is ridiculous, basically these 'rules' are in place to deter boys from playing hockey, and it has nothing to do with the boys wearing kilts - we're from Scotland the kilt was born here and is perfectly acceptable, but this is different - it's like them saying 'well, we'll see how much he can take', I think I would go as high as the olympic male hockey team to get this into the public eye - to accept this is like accepting any other type of discrimination IMO, and as my father would say
'rules are there for the guidance of wise men and the observance of idiots'but by the way - I think your nephew is fantastic!!!
post #44 of 73
Wanting to comment on this thread was something that encouraged me out of lurking so thank you.

Firstly, to answer your question, would I let my own son play high school field hockey, my answer is yes, absolutely if that is something that he wanted to do and the fact is that he might since he has just taken the game up in MS this year. My daughter also played for the first year in HS but let it drop this year to pursue other interests, but now my son has taken up her stick so to speak. Yes, he does wear a kilt too when playing just like the rest of the team.

Also, I hope this might offer some encouragement to your cousin, but here is a link to a picture of our local HS team, the Lady Wildcats, from a couple of season's ago when they won their first state championship in PA.

http://www.sherrysundberg.com/FieldH...007Champs1.jpg

As you can see, there is a boy on the end wearing the same uniform and he is still playing this season too.

With the support of the coach and the district boys can play in PA and have a lot of fun.

My suggestion to you is to don't sweat the kilt or skirt. Whenever there are articles about our team it always refers to "the girls" and the coach always talks about "the girls". I am sure the boy doesn't take this as a personal affront and I think this is probably what your cousin's coach meant when she said that she'd like to see just another team player on the bench when she sees your cousin and not a boy that sticks out that she has to be extra sensitive about. If he does get any teasing or bullying then be supportive but otherwise encourage what he's doing and let him take enjoyment from it too.
post #45 of 73
This treatment is absurd and unlawful. If they made a girl jump through those hoops she would sue- rightfully. Must sit the bench for a year? Outrageous.

-Angela
post #46 of 73
Yeah, the not playing for a year is BS. Unless any new female member is made to sit on the bench for a year, that's flat out discrimination.
post #47 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
Yeah, the not playing for a year is BS. Unless any new female member is made to sit on the bench for a year, that's flat out discrimination.
OP said she was in PA -- I believe PIAA rules make any transfer student sit out their first year (to eliminate people transferring just for the purpose of playing a sport).
post #48 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke View Post
OP said she was in PA -- I believe PIAA rules make any transfer student sit out their first year (to eliminate people transferring just for the purpose of playing a sport).
I stand corrected then, if that's the case - if it's evenly applied, then it's obviously not discriminatory. But IMO, dumb. There's got to be a better way than making a kid sit on a bench all year...I mean, I guess they get to do practices, just not games. I dunno.
post #49 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewe+lamb View Post
I think I would go as high as the olympic male hockey team to get this into the public eye - to accept this is like accepting any other type of discrimination IMO, and as my father would say
'rules are there for the guidance of wise men and the observance of idiots'but by the way - I think your nephew is fantastic!!!
Discrimination would be if he was not allowed to join the team because he is a male - being made to wear the team uniform is not.
post #50 of 73
Pretty sure the Olympic ladies field hockey would not allow a man on the team. I could be wrong... but don't they have some pretty strict guidelines?
post #51 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Pretty sure the Olympic ladies field hockey would not allow a man on the team. I could be wrong... but don't they have some pretty strict guidelines?
Didn't someone point out that there IS a men's Olympic field hockey team? There'd be no need for a man to join the ladies' team if there's already a mens' team.
post #52 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ishyfishie View Post
Didn't someone point out that there IS a men's Olympic field hockey team? There'd be no need for a man to join the ladies' team if there's already a mens' team.
Huh, I missed that... Wonder how one gets so far as to play on the men's olympic field hockey team if there's no other men's field hockey teams available? There must be some somewhere, right?
post #53 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Huh, I missed that... Wonder how one gets so far as to play on the men's olympic field hockey team if there's no other men's field hockey teams available? There must be some somewhere, right?
I wondered that too? Maybe certain areas have local clubs or something?

I found it, it was in the OP: "In fact even though the US has a men's olympic team, field hockey is only usually offered to girls at the HS level."
post #54 of 73
I think there are clubs which guys can join but these are few and far between and I also think that these tend to be for adults. In fact at school age most of the clubs tend to be girls only and actually can enforce a no boys rule as I understand it if they don't get federal funds. My daughter was looking at playing some tournament once which said very clearly all players must be female.


Does anyone know if boys who play field hockey usually shave their legs? Seeing my son's hairy legs when he wears his kilt makes me wonder
post #55 of 73
I asked my daughter to weigh in as she plays field hockey for the HS team. They don't have any guys playing, but she said if one wanted to, she didn't see it would be an issue. Unless he was unwilling to wear the uniform - every team member has to be dressed 100% alike (they do get to choose their underwear ) - white or grey tank jersey (home or away), red kilt, red sliders (spandex shorts), white or red socks (home or away). If one is going to wear a long sleeve shirt (like UnderArmour when it gets colder), they all have to - same color and style). Same for leggings. League Regs.

On game days, they dress out in jerseys for school - usually with shorts or jeans, depending on the weather. She actually gets a lot of heat from her classmates (she goes to a magnet school, but plays for her home HS) for doing so, but her attitude is "My team wears jerseys on game day - it doesn't matter whether I'm physically in the same building." First game (home and away), they do dress out in full uniform. Your nephew should find out if he has to dress out on Friday, since the game is Saturday - that's pretty normal.

Through middle school, she also played baseball. League Regs require every player to wear a standard cup. So yeah - she got a jock strap and wore a cup. And for the poster who brought it up? Yes, she was included in "cup checks" - the ref doesn't touch them - the kid taps the cup so the ref knows it's on. They do make female cups (in adult sizes), but I don't personally feel they provide adequate protection.

As for benching your nephew for the season... I'll agree that it isn't really fair. But... a lot of guys (especially jocks) don't take girls' sports seriously. I can understand a coach of a girls' team wanting to make sure that he's joined the team because he wants to play and not for a lark and to make a joke out of them.

When I was in HS (before Title IX, 'nuff said), I was allowed to practice and dress out with the guys' soccer team (no girls teams then), but no way was I allowed to play.

Kudos to your nephew for sticking with it. What position does he play? My daughter usually starts as center mid, but tends to be the team's utility player and gets moved to wherever a hole develops. What stick does he have? (I'm a FH geek mom.)
post #56 of 73
I'd let him play too, and I do think it is a bit silly that he can't wear shorts.

But I think that the district is probably not really wanting to be a co-ed team - they want to be a girl's team. So I can see that they are not rushing to accommodate, although in the reverse situation I am not sure it would fly. No-one would make a girl wear a boys uniform that exposed her in an indecent way, for example.

Maybe though what is really needed is a push for a co-ed or male team. It would take a lot of work to get it going and might not be in time for your nephew to play on, but it could be a really good thing. It wouldn't have to be part of the school team, it could be a club.
post #57 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Maybe though what is really needed is a push for a co-ed or male team. It would take a lot of work to get it going and might not be in time for your nephew to play on, but it could be a really good thing. It wouldn't have to be part of the school team, it could be a club.
I was thinking the same thing. It's pretty ridiculous that he's got to jump through hoops (sitting on the bench a year, although someone said that's not because he's a boy - and the uniform skirt) when there isn't a boy's team available. It's not like he's choosing to the play on the girl's team, instead of the boy's team, and wanting an exception on the uniform. There is not boy's team.

I hope it all works out for him - and I hope he gets to play sooner, not later. I do agree with a lot of what the coach was saying, but not all of it.
post #58 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCMoulton View Post
Discrimination would be if he was not allowed to join the team because he is a male - being made to wear the team uniform is not.
Ok I get the discrimination part, however, why does a boy have to jump through hoops and be humiliated (the jeering etc which the nephew had to put up with) to play a sport that he obviously likes and has a talent for, if this was any other situation I don't think that it would be tolerated, is it not the same when NIP is legal but then people object and the mother has to fight to have her rights recognised and we stage nurse-ins and all the like - what is different in this situation, what I see (from I think a European POV) is that this child is allowed - by the powers that be and the other parents whose children already play hockey - what would happen if the tables were turned?, to be humiliated and I do not think that in any situation that this is acceptable - it is great that this boy has the confidence to play anyway and is accepted by his team-mates, but what about all the children that just don't have that confidence?
post #59 of 73
Something that may have been lost in the discussion and perhaps the OP can consider is just how lucky this boy has been given how much he is clearly committed to the sport. I believe only a very small number of states would actually even give him any opportunity of playing. Most states would not allow what has happened here and I don't even think field hockey is played in all the states even by girls. So for the young man to move from Europe and end up in a state where he has a chance of continuing to play is quite lucky in itself.

I wonder too if this was a bit of a rushed decision. Maybe the OP can answer this, but did he really give any other sports a try before deciding to continue with field hockey to this degree. Perhaps this was an opportunity to try other sports and maybe find something new that wouldn't have been so non-conformist. Not that I am against non-conforming, but he could have perhaps given something else a try this year and then decided ahead of summer training camp if he wanted to try out for the field hockey team and all that comes with it. This may have given himself some more breathing room and even forewarned the coach so that she could better advise. This has sort of been put on her plate out of the blue and as others have said, including the OP, it's not a simple case for her of playing him or not; she has district and state considerations to make as well. From all that has been said I think she's actually done a good job so far.

I hope it works out for your cousin
post #60 of 73
I will check with my DD what they do in her HS when she gets back later. I know my DS does have to wear the full uniform when they have away games on school days, but it is the coach and school that decided that so the kids could get out straight after classes finished and still make the game. But that is MS not HS.
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