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My daughters are homeschooled and because of this they are not allowed to play sports in public schools. Their only option is county rec leagues. My younger daughter qualifies for the 15U team because of her age while my older daughter has to play on a HS team only. Most of all, my daughters love to play lacrosse and simply want to be treated as equal players in the rec leagues. Yet they both have recently experienced firsthand, that they, in fact, cannot participate in their lacrosse rec leagues as full equal players… because they are girls.
My youngest daughter is 15U qualified and began practicing with the boys in the fall of 2017; with the intention of building up her skill level and techniques. When she first started practicing, she played in boys gear with a girls stick. After a couple of practices, her coaches gave her a boys’ lacrosse stick to use. Needless to say, she grew to love the boys’ game and continuously worked exceptionally hard to become the best player she can be. When it was ready, my youngest daughter played in a Fall scrimmage game against another team in the league and she did well; without any issues. Towards the end of the fall season, she had been openly recognized by the coaching staff as one of the team’s most focused, tireless and dedicated players. Her coaches all told her that they wanted her to play with them in the Spring because of how hard she works and her clear ability to effectively play in the boys’ games. She had the lacrosse skills and drive to make the boy’s team.
When the springtime came, my youngest daughter expressed to the Onslow Lacrosse President that she was interested in playing for the coaches of the boys’ teams that she had worked with in the Fall. Onslow Lacrosse supported her 100% and the other presidents in the East Carolina Youth Lacrosse League (ECYLL) were all notified via email that my daughter would be playing on a boy's team. These notifications were sent out as an opportunity to discuss any potential issues before the Spring season started. At first, everything seemed to be moving along positively and smoothly. Most replies were either of concurrence or that they saw no issue with that announcement. But then on January 20, 2018, we found out that the ECYLL board decided that they were going to make a new rule that effectively prevents my youngest daughter from playing on the boy’s team; even though she had already been accepted as a member.
Since then, my youngest daughter has received letters of support from her girl's travel team coaches. In addition, her current boy’s team coaches said they would forfeit each game officially and just play the game because to them it didn't matter what it would officially say for their ranking they would know how they really did. Despite that fact, on February 22, 2018, the ECYLL decided that they would not let her play against any of the 15U boys teams.
Over the past few months, my youngest daughter has demonstrated that she has the necessary skills, team spirit, and sportsmanship to compete in boy’s lacrosse and just wants to continue to play the game that she loves at that level! She knows that she is athletically qualified to play boy’s lacrosse and is only being so heavily restricted simply because she is a girl. In our modern times where we aim to have a fair and level playing field, my youngest daughter does not plan on giving up on this issue until the ECYLL board recognizes her as an equal player on the boy's 15U team. I do want to mention she did play against New Bern in the first game of the season on March 3, 2018. There wasn't an issue and she was treated equally and fairly. Furthermore, I would like to share that Annuh is one of the captains of her boys' lacrosse team.
My older daughter who is on the boys' HS team was cleared to play since there is no other girls’ team, at all, for her to play on. Specifically, Title 9 says if there is no girl’s team then she can try out and play on the boy’s team; which she had successfully done for the Spring 2018 season. On February 18, 2018, she was told she had to sit out of a scrimmage because of the opposing team, Newport 15U boys, said they won't play against a girl. The Newport team refused to let her warm up with her team, practice at the end of the scrimmage with her team, and she wasn't even invited out for the team prayer in the middle of the field with both teams. Her head coach told her she needed to think of the rest of the team and how it wouldn't be fair for them not to play because of her. My daughter sacrificed for her team, took the humiliation, swallowed her pride and sat on the bench so her team could play and not forfeit because of her. Her head coach later apologized, because all of this was done despite the fact that my older daughter is a league recognized, enrolled team member and has already been fully approved to participate in all her team’s activities. These facts did not move the President of the Newport league and he made it very clear that he would not have his boys’ teams play against a team with a girl on it; even she is fully authorized by the league to play. The only thing that was reinforced that day was that singling out my older daughter, simply because she is a girl, was acceptable; instead of acknowledging her as a rightful member of her team and telling the other team to do the same.
My daughters want to be treated as fully equal players on their teams. Just like any of the other members of the boys’ teams, they are in the required age groups, and have earned their spots on the rosters through their own sweat, and by intensely developing their athletic skills over the years. They also have earned the respect of their teammates and their coaches support them 100%. Ultimately, they both would like the option to play in both girls’ and boy’s games because they just love lacrosse and wish to compete at all levels of the sport; equally without limits.
Please support this petition so that the East Carolina Youth Lacrosse may recognize the value in reconsidering their position and make lacrosse a sport that is open to all boys and girls of respective age to play as competitively as their skills allow.
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