Should Girls be Playing Youth Football?
This may be a bit of a controversial subject for some but in the society we live in the answer should be a resounding no!
Do some girls have the size and aggressiveness to play youth football? Absolutely, I see sisters of my players that would make excellent football players, but I’m not sure it would be the best for the girl or the boys on our youth football team.
Today’s society seems to want to devalue women, rap music with its demeaning depiction of women as throw aways and worthy of abuse, TV and movies that depict women as abuse worthy sex objects and the same with the print media and the mainstreaming of pornography.
In inner-city Omaha nearly 70% of our players have no man in the home. If you think I’m exaggerating, we have had games with 2 people in the stands and both were females, not enough for a chain crew. This was not a one time deal, we have had many games where we did not have 3 males to run the chains. Many of our players have no model of behavior in the house to �copy� of how to properly treat a woman. The kids often see first hand women being physically and mentally abused and of course they hear it in the music they listen to, on TV and in print. I’ve been coaching youth football for 15 years and the “dadless” house problem is getting worse every year. Tom Osborne in his book “Faith in the Game” claims this problem is increasing and is responsible for the majority of crime and problems with young males.
If we let girls play tackle football with boys, we teach the boys that harsh physical contact with females is acceptable behavior. In fact as coaches we would have to encourage and reward this physical contact. Our players would get in the habit and be used to being physical with females, the act would desensitize everyone involved in the activity of physical force being applied to females by males. The female in the meantime is learning that harsh physical contact with males is acceptable, it is now a habit. Now while having females on your team may help the short term progress of some of our football teams I�m not sure we are helping either the boy or the girl in their long term development as productive members of our society.
Girls are as good as and even better at boys at many activities, this is not about the girls having the ability to play. This is about breaking the abusive cycle many single parent families or even two parent families are in today. In my mind, coaching youth football is much more than teaching kids how to run good football plays and how to block and tackle. It is about teaching valuable life lessons the youth football player can take with him for use in his entire lifetime. My dad taught me how to treat women with reverence and respect and I was rewarded for that behavior with a wonderful wife and very satisfying family life. Dad not only told me, he showed me, even when him and mom had disagreements, they never got loud or physical. He modeled the proper behavior every day, many of our kids NEVER see that proper behavior being modeled for them. As a boy, we were threatened that hitting a girl or even pushing one was “mortal sin” material that could never happen. If it did happen, I would be dealt with by my father in the most extreme severe way, in addition it was also deemed cowardly.
In 2001 we had an 8 year old football player of one of our Omaha teams strike a girl in the face with his fist over some type of disagreement in the playground area of our field. Of course we spoke to the boy and let him know he should never strike a woman and dismissed him from our program with the promise he could come back the next year if we saw significant improvement in his attitude and actions. We felt he needed the program and contact with strong male role models. The player had to attend every practice and the games and watch, not play. We persuaded the parents of the struck girl not to press formal charges. Beleive it or not the striking players “grandpa” argued the kids case and said the girl “pushed him first”. That made me ill, the poor kid has no dad in the house and a “grandpa” that thinks it’s ok to hit girls in the face that push you first. No wonder his daughter had no man in the house. I wanted to smack grandpa in the face but thought that would not be the right message for the boy to see either. We really worked this kid, but I have feel there is a very high probability this player will be a woman user/abuser when he gets older and will have a very unsatisfying family life. While the grandson did come back, grandpa was not invited to coach again for us.
I’m never going to allow females to play in my youth football program. I don�t want our football players life lessons and memories to include when our stud linebacker knocked the stuffings out of a girl running back who had snot bubbles and tears streaming down her face.
However, some people will bite the hand that feeds it. In our rural program we have had no female football sign ups. In Omaha we have had a few moms try and sign their daughters up for football. After the initial disappointment wore off and the mom was told why we think it makes sense in the long run for females not to play, the moms were very supportive. I can think of just one case where mom didn�t “get it” and pulled her son out of the program because we would not allow her daughter to be pummeled by boys on our team. I can still see her today, a single mom with 3 kids that needed the program who refused to listen to reason. This mom had two missing front teeth, probably caused by the same cycle we were trying to help break.
Today we have tackle football and even wrestling between boys and girls, whats next boxing? or how about ultimate fighting?
Let’s draw the line at tackle football.