By Dana Zillgitt, Regular Contributor
Even if you don’t like playing sports, who doesn’t love hitting things and destroying stuff at times? Which basically sums up football with a few more rules and more exciting things. But apparently girls can’t play football any more intense than powderpuff because we’re fragile, weak, and it’s “incompatible with the religious mission” of the Catholic Youth Organization, better known as CYO.
Now back track. Why do we even care about the CYO mission? Because in Philadelphia, there’s a 13 year old girl by the name of Caroline Pla, who simply just wants to play ball with the boys because she’s good and she loves the sport. When she was originally denied enrollment in the league, it was due to the fact that it was too dangerous for a young lady to play football. Why? Because of the concussions, broken bones, and other injuries? Would somebody care to enlighten me as to why it isn’t just as dangerous for our boys to play the sport as well? And let me clarify, by no means should this glorious sport be eliminated, just be played on an even field.
Back to topic. Caroline Pla took to the internet after she was first denied, two years ago. Creating petitions on change.org, interviews with media outlets, and finally gaining a coveted spot on Ellen. With all the attention, Philly’s CYO reconsidered their decision in July of 2014, allowing Pla to play on a provisional basis and for only one last season. But she’d be the only girl allowed. This in turn caused a new battle for Pla and cohorts—why should she be the only girl allowed?
And her reasoning for round 2 of petitions? The CYO was violating Title IX and as Pla puts it best, she was “just really mad that we don’t get the same opportunity as boys just because we’re not a boy”. And she’s causing a ruckus yet again. She’s barely in middle school and she’s changing the way her neighborhood views girls playing on the field with numbers every yard up to 100.
All things considered, this girl is on the fast track to continuing being awesome and a total bad ass. She reminds us that just because one sport is dangerous for one gender doesn’t mean it isn’t for the other as well. And that chasing dreams isn’t difficult if you believe just a little bit.
Caroline went to great lengths to make sure that she was treated equally and was allowed to pursue her dream. But change doesn't always require being on Ellen! What small steps can you make in your day-to-day life to promote equality?
Dana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.