“Wait, Let Her Take The Shot…”

The sport that I have been participating in is soccer. I have played soccer for quite some time, but this time is I have been playing on a co-ed team. I have never played in a soccer co-ed team, so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m not going to lie; I was a bit intimidated by the thought of playing against boys. I have always scrimmaged against guys when I was in high school but I have never actually played co-ed. It was a bit refreshing to feel the excitement and the nervousness as we step onto the field and go to our positions. I have always played defense through out my life, so I decided to play midfield this time. My team signed up for the AA level, meaning it is an intermediate level of players that we competed against.

When my friend asked me to play on his team, I was a bit hesitant because I haven’t really played competitively since my injury back in 2011 and I knew I was going to be a bit unpracticed. However, soccer is like a magnetic force field that will always lure me in. As the day of the first game approached, I looked for my soccer cleats, shin guards, and a white or dark jersey. It was a nice feeling to bring out the old soccer gear and have a legit purpose to wear it. As I introduced myself to my teammates for the rest of the quarter, I realized that many of these people have been playing for a long time so I began to get nervous and a bit shy with my level of skill. They briefly told me the rules that applied when playing co-ed: there must always be at least 3 girls playing, boys must keep a two-feet distance when a girl has possession of the ball, and if a girl scores it is worth 2 points.

As they were telling me the rules, all I can think about was how stupid these rules were. I was a bit annoyed with the last two rules mentioned because it made girls seem as weak players. All I kept thinking about was how the rules dimmed the true potential girls had. To me, the two-point rule basically is saying that girls can’t score when playing against boys so if they do, they should be rewarded with two points because it must be a miraculous thing to do. I noticed that when ever there was a penalty kick, the girl was the one to take it because a girl’s goal was worth more. Playing with the “two feet distance” rule applied was so frustrating. Whenever the girls from the opposite team had possession of the ball, it was up to me or my two other female teammates to put pressure on them because they boys could not touch them at all. It was like a self-triggering force field whenever any of the girls had ownership of the soccer ball. I thought this rule was unfair because the girls were allowed to put pressure on the boys and push them or elbow them, but once the tables switch, it became a foul. This led me to thinking about the whole power relations and gender problem that coincides with sports. Why is it that these referees believe that women aren’t as strong soccer players as men? Do they honestly believe that girls cannot handle the aggression of men? All rules aside, playing the game was refreshing. It was nice to step foot on the open field and play a game of soccer.

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One Response to “Wait, Let Her Take The Shot…”

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    Those rules for coed play are so surprising to me! While I can understand that perhaps they made them to entice more women to play and assuage any fears they may have for playing against men, they also do feel quite demeaning. I also wonder if they work to counter some of the unrecognized sexism of male players (not that I agree with the methods). What if, for example, male players tend not to pass to female players or act as ball hogs? The two-points rule could help to alleviate that problem. I say this not to justify the rule, but to try to understand why they thought it was a good idea. I wonder what would happen if the rules changed over the course of the season? Or, better, that they did not have these last two rules. What other means could be developed to deal with any latent sexism in the game?

    I hope your season is going well!

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