Copyright 2002 Linda Marcas - All Rights Reserved
Levy Levity, or Advancing Backwards
This is going to be a quickie column; I was going to send in a Crank re-run because I'm busy getting ready
for the Red Elvises show in Toledo tonight, Oct. 21, but I had a sudden inspiration, so I'll just jot down my
thoughts instead. Please excuse the lack of polish! Also, a correction to RE information I wrote a few weeks
ago, which might save someone a trip to Ann Arbor: the RE show for Thursday, Oct. 24, will be in St. Joseph,
MI, and not in Ann Arbor as originally planned. Check their website for details, www.redelvises.com.
I've noticed that many folks are buzzing about the upcoming vote concerning the local school levy and how a
lack of funds will affect the students, extra-curricular activities, etc. Last night, I saw a segment on "60 Minutes"
that explored concerns about how girls are now surpassing boys at all levels of academic achievement, and in all
subjects. Just now, I watched Geena Davis on "The View", extolling the virtues of sports programs for girls,
and advocating their participation and a knowledge of their rights in regard to such.
Years ago, something called "Title IX" mandated that schools that had sports programs for boys had to
create matching programs for girls. (I'm sure it's much more complicated than this, as anything involving
government and money always is.) Well, now that money is tight and folks are growing concerned about girls'
grades being better than boy's grades, advocating "solutions" such as all-male classrooms, so that young men
aren't subjected to the distractions and embarassments they feel when girls are present, I suggest that we move
beyond Title IX and make all school sports co-ed activities.
Think about it; by effectively cutting the numbers of "teams" of any sport in half, the schools could save a lot
of money. Okay, there would probably be very few girls trying out for and making the football team, but so
what? Football is a rough game, and there are few females terribly inclined or able to play it. On the other
hand, if they wanted to play and could make the cut, no one could say that they didn't belong there. Basketball
could easily go co-ed, as could golf, volleyball, baseball, swimming, soccer, track, cheerleading, whatever. The
time and money saved on coaches, gym space for practice, travel, uniforms, etc., could be used towards
separate locker-rooms, and I'd bet there would be money left over.
Oh, but so many kids who play sports now wouldn't be able to make the teams, you say? Well, add a
couple more sports, then, things like table tennis or archery or badminton; life isn't fair, and if you aren't big
enough for the football team, you aren't big enough for the football team, period, and no amount of legislation or
whining is going to change it.
Co-ed sports might go a long way toward making those academically under-achieving boys less distracted and
embarrassed by girls in the classroom; once you've elbowed someone on the basketball court, it's probably a lot
harder to get all worked up about whether they giggle when you get an answer wrong. And if more parents put
a higher value on academic rather than on sports achievements for their sons, maybe the boys wouldn't be
lagging behind in the first place.
Doing away with Title IX girls' sports might seem like a move backwards, but the money crunch makes
drastic measures necessary, it seems. Which would be worse, cutting all extra-curricular activities, or making
those activities available to all, but while basing participation on merit rather than on gender? So far, no one has
suggested separate grading systems for boys and girls in academic subjects, so why should there be separate
"grading" systems for non-academic ones? We don't have separate marching bands for boys and girls, or
separate chess clubs, so why have separate sports? These kids will all have to compete with each other in "the
real world", which, as most of us have learned the hard way, is seldom "fair" or governed by any artificial and
arbitrary "equality." Getting them used to that idea might be progress, in the long run.
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