My daughter Caroline, who has played football since age 5, has been fortunate enough to be part of a special team the last two years, where she got to experience the camaraderie and ultimate team atmosphere of the sport, while representing our local Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) program. She was physically able to compete, and was a contributor and equal part of the team.
My husband George and I, who have been active in the church and CYO for decades, were told in the middle of the season that Caroline could no longer play because “football is for boys.” The news came despite the fact that Caroline is considered an all-star junior varsity player by her teammates.
CYO is one of the lone remaining organizations that discriminates against girls in football even though the ability of a girl to be able to participate and compete safely has been proven. Even the NFL and Pop-Warner leagues have no male-only rule and thousands of women play full-tackle high-school football each year in America. According to the CYO rule, Caroline will no longer be allowed to play, as the CYO office looks to enforce this archaic language in their handbook. What's worse is that the rule, as it stands now, will prevent any girl in the future from being a part of a CYO football team.
My daughter wants more than anything for this rule to be updated and modernized to reflect the times. Simply change the rule and allow girls to play.