Rochester Minnesota native Ingrid Neel will play on the Mayo High School boy’s tennis team this spring. Neel is a highly ranked player and won both the Girls 12s singles and doubles championship at the 2010 “Little Mo” International Junior Open at the Bollettieri/IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida last fall.
Her motivation to play on the boy’s team is to get better competition. The current MSHSL rules allow Neel to play only if she does not also compete on the girl’s tennis team.
I wonder if this will become a more common trend for highly skilled and competitive female athletes? What are your thoughts?
4 Replies to “MN Female to Play on Boys’ Tennis Team”
I think that’s AWESOME!! And I hate to phrase it as “it makes *more* sense” … but when you’re talking one to one competition… what does it matter if your opponent is a male or a female? It’s about skill!
(I fully comprehend that the same argument could be made for team sports, but like I said, it just feels like it makes sense for some reason…)
I think it is great- but also have mixed feelings. Let’s raise the competitive level of girl’s/women’s teams. I know many compretitive female athletes like competing against men because they feel like they can go harder- isn’t this a representation of us (competitive female athletes) limiting ourselves and feeding into the same stereotypes that female athletes are ‘less than’ male athletes? How can we create- develop stronger, highly skilled female athletes in younger generations if we are always looking to men’s/boy’s teams? How can coaches contribute to creating a more skilled environment for these completive aspiring female athletes? if they always go and play with the boys it seems that we are saying that you have to be beyond exceptional and if you’re not than you can stay here with the other girls. Mixed message? However- I do think it is great that she is being accepted and doing what she needs to do to keep up her skills!
Recently I was getting ready for my women’s rec hockey league and there was a HS game before our ice time. There were two Chicagoland boy’s HS teams playing but I noticed a player on each team with a long ponytail. Now these ponytails could have been on guys but upon looking closer I saw they were girls. These girls were playing with their HS boys teams. I’m not sure if their HSchools have girls’ teams or not. These girls were great. They were holding their own in the boys’ game that allows checking.
After the game was a different story. When they were shaking hands a guy on one team two hand chucked one of the girl players to the ground. This started a fight that ended with parents coming out of the stands to pull people off the pile. Of course the guys on the pushed girl’s team came to her defense. It was quite a scene.
It didn’t end there. The girls had to change basically in the lobby since they couldn’t change in the lockerroom. Parents were shouting at each other about how lame the guy was that pushed a girl. I’m not condoning the push at all but it was ironic that this caused a ruckus when they were beating the hell out of each other on the ice just a few minutes before.
I say let athletes play in the level of competition that their individual skills allow. If she has the skills to beat or compete with the boys then let her play. I do think we will see much more of this in the future. Especially at the HS level. I think it is absolutely the right thing to do for the athlete, the school and the tennis teams.
“March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path”