Gender rules in sports not always there to discriminate

Sept. 28, 2015

Do you remember those people in high school that took P.E. class way too seriously, and each class seemed like an Olympic qualifying trial?

Yeah, that was me.

Everything was a competition. It didn’t matter what it was, I was going to win. Even if I was playing against boys – especially if it was against boys – I always wanted to win.

I didn’t think it mattered who was the “stronger” gender, if it was a game, anyone could win.

This is why I struggled with the coed soccer team rules for intramurals at the Rec Center. Girl goals count as two points, while guy goals count as one.

Initially I balked at this rule. I thought if you’re going to play intramural sports with guys, why not rise to their level of play?

But sitting in the intramural office with Skyler Cook, coordinator of competitive sports, and Joe West, program assistant, they managed to change my mind.

The rule isn’t there to make girls feel like they can’t compete. It’s there to make them feel like they can.

Cook came to UCCS this year from the University of Idaho and explained that the extra point rule isn’t unique to UCCS. It’s a rule nationwide, because all schools struggle with female participation in intramural sports.

The lack of participation is reflected by the fact that there are no women-only leagues. West said last year there was a women-only 3v3 basketball league, but only three teams signed up.

Playing with guys is always intimidating, and this rule helps ease that intimidation because the girls’ points are more valuable. Their participation lifts the team up more than the guys’ does.

Cook added that there is a certain number of girls and guys needed on the field at all times. That way the rule is effective enough to encourage participation, but it keeps the level of play fair.

“It’s a double edged sword,” West said. “Because you do get more girl participation, but sometimes you get girls who completely dominate.”

“It is the best thing we have at the moment.”

Cook agrees it is the best solution at the moment.

“With school growth, we are hoping the girls’ involvement will continue to grow. We are trying to get to a place where we can have a variety of choices for not only the girls but all students.”

They make good points. It isn’t about winning, it’s about having fun.

After all it is just a game.