From Fox News in Long Island comes a classic tale of post-modern folly, as a boy finds himself booted off the girls’ field hockey team because he’s too “dominant”:
A 13-year-old Long Island boy who has been the star of a local high school girl’s field hockey team for the past two years has been kicked off the team for being too dominant of a player, MyFoxNY reports.
Keeling Pilaro was told he could no longer play for Southampton High School’s varsity girl’s field hockey team this year after becoming the team’s star over the past two years.
Section 11, which oversees Suffolk County’s high school sports, determined that as a boy, Keeling had too significant an advantage over the other players.
“(Keeling is) having a significant adverse effect on some of his opposing female players,” Section 11 claimed according to MyFoxNY. “The rules state he would be allowed to play if he wasn’t the dominant player.”
Section 11’s executive director, Ed Cinelli, told MyFoxNY, “As a sport it’s a girls sport. When a boy plays, it leads the way for other male players to come in and take over.”
Field hockey, for those unaware of the game, is pretty much what it sounds like: hockey played on grass, with a ball instead of a puck. It has both male and female leagues at the tournament level, but presumably ice hockey is more popular with high-school boys, at least in the United States. Keeling picked up the game while living in Ireland.
Keeling, who seems like a great kid who truly loves his sport, is appealing the decision, on the grounds that he is of small stature, and some of the girls on his team are “faster and stronger than he is.” His mother somewhat more bluntly called out Section 11 for having an “adverse effect on his self-esteem” with their ruling.
This is an unfortunate demonstration of what happens when dogma crashes into reality. It doesn’t matter if the dogma in question is sincerely well-intentioned. One of the great lessons of our age, for anyone who cares to learn it, is that reality trumps good intentions every time.
The fundamental differences between growing boys and girls teach that lesson… as does the folly of imposing a rule, from the outset, that Keeling could only play as long as he “wasn’t the dominant player.” Such rules have no place in a “sport” – a concept the educational system, at all age levels, seems to be having a great deal of trouble with. Either field hockey is a sport, or it isn’t.