In sports, as in life, you can’t fool Mother Nature. But in sports, at least below the pro level, you can blindfold and gag Ma Nature, bind her with bureaucratic red tape, and render her a helpless spectator as legislative warriors attempt to rewrite biology.
The latter observation is based on the recently completed Connecticut state high school track and field meet in which a couple of guys won championship races against girls. They were allowed to do this because they “identify” as girls.
In Connecticut, the governing body for high school sports uses gender identity as the sole decider. In Texas, by way of contrast, it’s what gender is on the birth certificate that determines where the individual competes. In Pennsylvania we are somewhere in the middle, philosophically as well as geographically.
What boggles my mind is that there is even a debate on the matter. Let us discuss the topic using facts, not feel-good emotions and vague theoretical arguments.
The athletic reality is, when it comes to well-trained, highly conditioned athletes, men are stronger, faster and just about everything else you’d want in athletics. I didn’t say smarter.
Title IX was designed to give women equal opportunity in sports and it is a raging success on that front. Note, opportunity to participate is equal, not the level of play.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find a dolt, as one New York TV station did, who is willing to go so far as to speculate that in a theoretical game between the highly regarded University of Connecticut women’s basketball team and their currently not-as-successful UConn men’s counterparts, the men “might lose.”
And it might snow tomorrow.
The sun might rise in the west. The Earth might start orbiting the Moon.
If the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams were playing tomorrow, with a million dollars guaranteed to each player of the winning side – just to prevent someone getting the men to throw the game for symbolic reasons – I’d bet my life on the men.
But they won’t play, so let’s move beyond theory to fact.
Let’s go back to track and field. Here it is only a matter of the stopwatch.
The outdoor 100-meter dash world record for a man is 9.58 seconds. For a woman, it’s 10.49. Same for the 200-meter dash – 19.19 for the men, 21.34 for the women.
How about a distance race, where a woman’s smaller stature might be an advantage?
Nope. The men’s marathon world record time is 2:02:57.
The women’s world record is 2:17:01.
You will find the same in jumping events, throwing events, everywhere there is an objective, not subjective measure.
We don’t need the men and women athletes to square off head-to-head to see who would win in these sports.
That doesn’t stop ridiculous speculation in other sports, such as when Ronda Rousey
was rolling through her female competitors in UFC and some were speculating she would destroy many men in the sport
or even some champion men boxers. It turns out Rousey got destroyed a couple of times herself – by women – and the myth exploded.
The International Olympic Committee, which used to police gender strenuously with so-called sex tests, has decided to look the other way on such matters showing themselves to be highly political despite their self-professed freedom from such.
And women athletes have complained, citing a lack of fairness.
On the other hand, if a woman athlete wants to take a crack at the men’s professional or college team sports, most would agree that’s fine. Try out for the your college football or basketball or baseball teams. Demand the chance to make a run at the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB. Be sure not to claim sexual bias if you are cut.
What I don’t want to see is guys who identify as girls taking down roster spots in the WNBA or women’s leagues in other sports.
My rationale for that is the same as agreeing it’s fine to allow a high school sports team to play for championships above its class in terms of enrollment, but not down.
It seems we worry about fairness and opportunity these days only with a large helping of political correctness thrown into the discussion.
What about the Connecticut girls who would have won their events, or placed high enough to medal, had there not been guys running against them?
Who speaks for those victims?