Taking one for the team

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By Stephen Lega

Lessons in equality are still being learned.

You may have seen a national news item about Our Lady of Sorrows Academy, which recently decided to forfeit the Arizona Charter Athletic Association state baseball championship game against Mesa Preparatory Academy.

Had Our Lady of Sorrows suspended players for misbehavior? Did the school discover some kind of cheating scandal?

Nope, Our Lady of Sorrows refused to play the game because Mesa Prep's second baseman is female. According to an ESPN.com story, Mesa Prep does not have a softball team, so Paige Sultzbach tried out and earned a spot on the baseball team instead.

(Am I the only person who finds it ironic that a school with "Lady" in its name refused to play a team with a female player?)

Our Lady of Sorrows officials issued a written statement saying that it teaches boys to respect females by not placing them in athletic competitions where "proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty," according to ESPN.

When I lived in Iowa, I remember hearing some wrestling coaches raise these kinds of concerns, although I suspect the girls who did wrestle were aware that they were participating in a sport that requires a lot of contact between the participants.

That said, the kind of contact common on a baseball field is a far cry from what you would expect to see on a wrestling mat.

Our Lady of Sorrows is run by the Society of St. Pius X, a group that, at the very least, disagrees with changes approved as a result of Vatican II. On its website, sspx.org, the organization refers to Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI as heretics.

Apparently, Mesa Prep and Our Lady of Sorrows played twice during the season, and Sultzbach agreed to sit out those games. Like any competitor, she wasn't going to sit out the state championship, however.

With that in mind, what did Our Lady of Sorrows accomplish, besides some bad PR?

School officials showed a willingness to give up something for their beliefs, but they seem to be ignoring something bigger.

In the grand scheme of things, forfeiting a state championship game isn't going to make a big difference one way or another in the lives of the students on either team.

So what, exactly, was the lesson for Our Lady of Sorrows' players?

No matter what they do for the rest of their lives, they are going to be competing against other people - including females - for jobs, promotions, and awards.

Maybe more importantly, they will be working alongside females, too, and they might even have to work together with those same females on specific projects from time to time.

It's 2012, people. Women can and are doing anything, and that's not a bad thing.


Since this column had a baseball focus, here's a few quick hits:

- Family Video is rewarding students for their good grades.

Students from kindergarten to college can bring their report cards to the store to receive a voucher for a free rental for each "A" they received in a core course. The vouchers can be used any time in June.

- Paul for President? No, not Ron Paul, but Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Apparently, there are political pundits predicting that Kentucky's junior senator may be eyeing a White House run of his own in 2016.