Girls can play as well — and as hard — as boys

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August 17 at 7:36 PM

I appreciate coverage of the Little League World Series and of girls’ participation in it [“When an ‘out’ call was changed,” Sports, Aug. 14]. Still, I can’t help but wonder why, 40 years later, we should still be patting ourselves on the back for allowing girls to play.

Of course, I applaud Kim Green and the others who helped get girls accepted into Little League. And Mo’Ne Davis and Emma March should be very proud of their hard work and of their defiance of social norms that still assume girls “can’t play” in so many arenas — sports and otherwise.

The real question is: Why aren’t girls encouraged to continue in the sport? Are boys and men afraid to compete against them? Are they unwilling to share the camaraderie, the glory, and the career and economic advantages of participation in high school, college and professional sport? Or do they still think that getting hit by a baseball will give a woman cancer (but it won’t do the same to a man)?

There’s no good reason and no constitutional reason why a qualified woman shouldn’t be allowed to participate in any sport at any level. It’s time to fully integrate sports, not only by race and sexual orientation but also by sex.

As Kim Green says, “If you’ve got the skills to do a job, it shouldn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man.”

Leslie Spitz-Edson, Falls Church

McLean Little League was one of the first local leagues to allow female players in 1975 when 30 girls joined the league’s 400 boys. The young women quickly earned respect with their hard play. When sixth-grader Colleen Brennan tried to score on a close play at home, she tried to run around the catcher and was tagged out. The next time she ran into the catcher, knocked him over and scored.

McLean’s Girls of Summer have been playing hard ever since, with the boys and with all-girl softball teams. A McLean girls team won the national Little League championship in 2005 and another won the Virginia State Championship this year.

Ron Shafer, Williamsburg

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