In search of fairness for all athletes

The issue of who transgender student athletes should compete against is complicated. Let’s first acknowledge that it has generally worked well to have boys compete against boys and girls against girls.

A friend who coached high school varsity girls basketball at the Class 1A and Class 5A level in Kansas for a combined seven years has some interesting observations.

At the 1A level, he coached two or three girls who could have been role players on the boys’ varsity team. At the Class 5A level, none of his players would have made the boys’ varsity team.

To help his girls’ varsity teams improve, he occasionally had them practice against a boys’ junior high team.

“When I had good junior high teams, they would control the scrimmage, but average junior high teams made for good competition,” he said. “Speed was probably the biggest factor.”

The former girls coach said that women’s teams at the NCAA level often scrimmage college-age guys from intramural-level teams to give the college women experience against more physical players they might see in their conference. With 14 scholarship players, the bottom six or seven might not help the starters prepare for tough teams, so playing against guys can be beneficial.

He believes the best scenario is still for girls to play against girls since they have that opportunity.

Abigail Shrier, author of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” has said: “There is hardly a woman alive who has not, in her teen years, challenged a boy her age to competition; she easily dominated when they were young, only to discover that in the footrace, the arm-wrestling match, and the attempt to move a heavy box, the young man now has the better of her. She may be far more athletic, in much better shape, but that turns out not to matter when pitted against young men in contests of pure strength and speed.

“Consider (Allyson) Felix, a contender for the title of fastest female sprinter in the world, who holds more Olympic medals than even Usain Bolt. Her lifetime best for the 400-meter is 49.26 seconds. Based on 2018 data, nearly 300 high school boys in the US alone could beat it.

“Take the lesson learned by the Williams sisters, who once claimed they could beat any male tennis player ranked outside of the top 200. In 1998, a male tennis player ranked 203rd took them up on the challenge. He beat both Williams sisters decisively, 6-1 over Serena and 6-2 over Venus. ‘I didn’t know it would be that difficult,’ said Serena afterwards. ‘I played shots that would have been winners on the women’s circuit, and he got to them very easily.’”

So here’s the crux of the matter.

Shrier said: “Do transgender athletes have a right to participate in the world of athletics?Emphatically, yes. Transgender athletes who are biologically male must be welcome to participate and excel in sports. Where competitions are divided by sex, the just and rational solution is to ask transwomen athletes to compete against other biological males – on the boys’ teams, where their inclusion does no damage to the fairness of the competition. Male-bodied athletes, transgender-identified or not, ought to compete against each other.”

The alternative comes at too steep a price. To force young women to compete with male-bodied athletes will bring about the collapse of women’s sports, according to Shrier, and strip young women of all the hard-earned entitlements of Title IX.

Ex-NFL star Marcus Wiley suggests another alternative. As a father of three daughters and the husband to a former collegiate athlete, this subject hits home in a special way following President Joe Biden’s Day One executive order mandating people be permitted to participate in sports based on their gender identity.

Wiley says it’s time to consider a separate transgender category in youth athletics, implying the executive action would be harmful to competition.

If boys identifying as girls left your daughter a spectator in her own sport, wouldn’t you speak up?

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