An Arizona High School baseball team has reportedly forfeited their chance to play for the Arizona State Championship after refusing to play against an opposing team with a 15-year old girl on the roster.
The players and coaches of Our Lady of Sorrows Academy in Phoenix were due to face Mesa Preparatory Academy in the Arizona Charter Athletic Association State Championship, however after learning that 15-year-old Paige Sultzbach would be at second base for the game, Our Lady of Sorrows promptly withdrew from the game.
“They wouldn’t play the game as long as we had a girl on the team who was on the field. It violates their policy about boys playing against girls,” says Mesa Preparatory Academy headmaster Robert Wagner.
“It’s just unfortunate that our kids who are excited about playing don’t have the opportunity,” he added.
Various reports indicate that Our Lady Sorrows is a Catholic school run by traditionalist, conservative priests that do not agree with the interaction of girls and boys in that respect. They simply feel that it goes against their standards.
“It wasn’t that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it’s that (they believe) that a girl’s place is not on a field.” says the girls mother, Pamela Sultzbach.
According to Fox News, Our Lady of Sorrows Academy had this to say regarding the forfeiture of the game:
“Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls,” adding
“Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty”.
The Sultzbach family fully supports their daughter Paige, but are certainly saddened by the stance of the Catholic school.
“It’s unfortunate,” Sultzbach’s father, John says.
“We hadn’t anticipated coming across that. I think it’s sad.”
“She’s glad that they are the state champions, and she’s happy the way her school and her teammates stood behind her,” John Sultzbach continued. “But she wanted to play.”
Mesa Preparatory Academy finished their season undefeated at 11-0.
How does it make you feel to see that sexism still exists in High School sports?