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Girls Who Like to Ruck!

by

The other day I was at a childrenís rugby tournament for the under-elevens, where the star player was a girl. She wasnít the only one around, there were a couple, but she was by far the best player in the whole thing. Unfortunately for her, she starts secondary school next year and bam! suddenly, sheíll have nobody to play with. Girls arenít allowed to play rugby at S1 in schools where I live. Once they reach S1, after all, the safe Mini Laws are replaced by the opportunity to push in the scrum, use the hand-off and tackle properly. And ≠ hear the gasps of horror ≠ girls might hurt themselves!

What is it with this absolute horror over girls getting hurt in sports? How come itís OK for boys to know the joys of a damn good tackle, but not the girls? Are we made of china? Are we more prone to injury? Or is it, as I strongly suspect, yet another way in which women are treated like Barbie dolls by society? Society doesnít want to see girls getting sweaty, filthy and battered. Weíre not meant to be on a field with sticks flailing, screaming at each other and hacking at shins. We donít please people when we wear gumshields instead of lipstick, and naked aggression is so unbecoming, after all. Hence we were stuck playing netball and rounders whilst the boys whooped in the mud on the next pitch. And this patronising crap doesnít stop even when weíre fully grown adults.

I played shinty at university, where the male side of the club openly stated that they disapproved of womenís shinty. When asked why, they would begin to squirm, whilst muttering solid arguments such as, "Itís just not right. . . it's rough out there. . . girls shouldnít be doing things like that." This was echoed by every spectator at tournaments, horrified that "the lassies" were grabbing a slice of the action but not giving a toss about the 24 guys whacking lumps out of each other on the next pitch. Male teams refused to let their female teams use their facilities. They shook their heads that they had "lived to see this day", but were indignant when accused of sexism.

And other girls are just as bad. See the bimbos clustered adoringly around the average menís sports team. Watch their snide disgust as the womenís team walks past. They have muscles! Theyíre so ugly! They must all be fat hairy lesbians, because real, feminine women would never play a sport where the wimpy, patronising girly safeguards have been removed! After all, they might get HURT!

Fuck them all. Letís get a grip here and stop wrapping girls in cotton wool. Letís knock off the underlying message that theyíre all inferior and weak. Not all of them want to go out and play contact sports, but why should we stop those who do, for the lame crap that itís dangerous for them but not the boys? Tits arenít that fragile. This attitude belongs in the 1950ís, not the 21st century. Throw the sports open to all ≠ what have we got to lose? What are we all so frightened of? That some women might enjoy themselves too? That some of us revel in traditionally masculine preserves? This is sport ≠ itís meant to be FUN. Why are we being denied that?

Iím involved in youth rugby. I get coaches who wonít speak to me, players who think they can walk all over me (they canít), people asking in disbelief, "Are you the ref?" when itís on my shirt, and horrified spectators assuring me that Iíll get trampled to death. Yeah, well, watch me for five minutes and youíll see that youíre wrong. Iím not going to sit back and wait for it to be acceptable to morons. Iíll just get out there and have a great time, and if you donít like it ≠ tough shit. You should be grateful your daughterís got another role model, instead of embarrassed because you told your son women didnít belong in rugby and he repeated it to me. Bring your daughter *and* you son along next time. Bring yourself. Get involved. Get rid of your presumptions. Everyoneís welcome. If you donít like it, thatís your choice, but make it a choice, not an obligation because you think itís unladylike.

Donít treat your daughter like a toy who might snap. Teach her to be strong, confident, healthy and unafraid. And if you canít do that, bring her down next Sunday afternoon and Iíll do it for you.



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