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Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:27 pm
by Webmaster
Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

The following editorial that was published in the Dec. 10 WIAA Bulletin contains a reference to Tomahawk. Its focus is on a male Stevens Point Area Senior High School junior who's fighting to compete on his school's girls' gymnastics team. Keith Michael Bukowski and his mother, Janine, have filed a complaint in circuit court against the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) for refusing to let the boy compete with his female peers. We're wondering what you think?

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The WIAA's denial of a recent request to allow a boy gymnast to compete on the Stevens Point Area Senior High girls' gymnastics team this season has received statewide media attention over the past couple of weeks and may possibly draw national attention.

Why so much exposure is being given to this particular issue is somewhat puzzling given the plethora of court precedents and opinions on such cases, the practicality of boys competing on girls' teams and the impact it would have on a much wider scale.

Although efforts to allow boys to compete on girls' teams in order to provide opportunities not available through school or community programs may be done with good intentions, those intentions are also short-sighted and a bit misguided.

It has been reported that a petition is being circulated, a web site being created and T-shirts being printed with "Fair is Fair" printed on them to voice well-intended support for the request. Some claim what's good for the gander is good for the goose.

Yes, girls have been able to compete on boys' teams, and some have excelled in doing so. Take Alyssa Lampe of Tomahawk, for example. Last year, she became the first girl wrestler to advance to the State Individual Wrestling Tournament. She won her first match of the tournament before losing the next two matches.

However, few would, or even could, refute a physiological difference between girls and boys, especially considering the maturation process that takes place between the ages of 15-18. That's not to say the competitiveness, judgment and skill level of boys surpasses that of girls, but natural maturation gives most boys an advantage in strength and speed, which continues to be accepted by science and in the courts.

In addition, when Title IX was enacted in the early 1970s, it would be hard to argue the equity intentions of the law included boys competing on girls' teams. In fact, it contradicts the legislation's intent. The advent of Title IX and its enforcement definitely narrowed the gap, but it hasn't closed it all the way. Females continue to be the underrepresented gender.

With all the great female athletes and their achievements over the last 30 years, it's difficult for some of us to comprehend the rationale why it took so long to have girls' athletics recognized in the same manner male sports have been.

Having a boy compete on a girls' team and displacing the opportunity for another girl certainly rejects the intent of the rule. Even if it doesn't displace someone from the roster, it will, at the very least, displace some of the instruction time in practice afforded to other girls. Let's play this out a bit. If a boy is able to compete on a girls' gymnastics team, regardless of skill level, how could we prevent boys from competing in other girls' sports?

With this precedent, there are a lot of schools in the membership that have girls' volleyball teams but not boys' volleyball teams. What would the reaction be if a gifted 6-foot-4 boy showed up for the first day of girls' volleyball practice or any other girls' sport practice? What possibilities of displacement and loss of opportunity for girls exist in these cases? How fair would that be?
Perhaps the most unfortunate and disappointing aspect of this entire situation is the fact the boy was initially led to believe he would be able to compete on the girls' team.

This is not a simple case of a boy being denied the ability to compete. It goes far beyond that as this scenario attempts to demonstrate. This is also not a situation whereby the WIAA is either uncompassionate or too restrictive in its regulations or interpretations.

This is an issue about one individual and a caring parent wanting what is best for her son. However, what's best for one person does not outweigh what's best for thousands of girls now and in the future. Would it be fair to jeopardize opportunities for thousands for the desires of one?

The clear answer is no. After all, what's fair is fair.

-WIAA Bulletin

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:19 am
by Jeff Boettcher
With all the cost cutting measures that our schools must endure, I could see having a united men's & women's gymnastic team. If Point doesn't offer men's gymnastics at this time, then let him compete with the woman's team.

Does any Wi school offer men's gymnastics anymore?? Women's hockey??


Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:00 pm
by Fushia
Yes, of course a Wisconsin school has men's gymnastics. Didn't you watch the Olympics?
He won gold!!!!!

Waukesha Wisconsin is where he was from and
they have teams in the southeast part of WI.
Have no idea why none here..same with volleyball.
There are men volleyball teams in SE part of WI,
but none in the north. Must be a student enrollment issue.

In answer to the question posted by webmaster:

Yes, I think they should be allowed to compete,
even on a women's team if that is all they are allowed to do.

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:22 pm
by Deb Richardson
A combined effort for most schools could be a good economic solution. I'm not sure I agree that in a sport such as gynmnastics a boy should be allowed to compete with the girls. The bigger, stronger, faster thing that boys of this age have could give them an unfair advantage. However, there are exceptions to every rule. I recall a rather talented Tomahawk basketball player, a young man, going to Lakeland High School for open gym and "getting smoked" by Katie Voigt. (Katie was a University of Wisconsin women's stand out and I do believe played in Europe for a short time.) My point is girls can compete and do excel over boys.How does the WIAA draw the line? Do they decide to not let the boy/girl lines be crossed? In the past Tomahawk has had female hockey players on the boys team. A rather good goalie as a matter of fact. I don't believe that that was ever an issue. My thoughts are does the young man from Point really want to compete on a girls' team or is it his mother that is pushing the issue.

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:58 pm
by Jeff Boettcher
No, I didn't watch gymnastics during the summer olympics. I don't watch any olympic sport where the outcome is based solely on the whims of a judges' panel. (Too frustrating.)

But you're right about Hamm. With all the press coverage on him, I should have remembered that he did his high school thing in Waukesha. Maybe men's gymnastics has declined to being a SE Wisconsin deal?

<small>[ January 06, 2005, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: Jeff Boettcher ]</small>

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 12:52 pm
by jimbo71
Do you think there may be coed athletics taking place in coed dorms? ;)

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:03 pm
by Deb Richardson
Hmmm, whatever do you mean jimbo, like all night Scrabble? Me thinks that the dorms don't need to be coed!

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 6:28 pm
by Kerry Tobin
What level of co-ed are we talking Deb?

The dorm I was in in Eau Claire had guys one one wing and girls on the other and I voted to consider allowing alternating rooms.

I would NOT have voted for sharing rooms but do think that by the time you reach the college level you are going to need to be able to handle having the opposite sex near by. To be completely honest I don't see the difference between being neighbors in a dorm and being neighbors in an apartment...

To the guy suing to play, good luck. I don't think you'll win but parts of me support your cause.

Just my thoughts...

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:19 pm
by Deb Richardson
Kerry, guess I wasn't very clear. Me thinks it doesn't matter if a dorm is co-ed or not, co-ed activities will go on regardless. I think you get my drift.

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:44 pm
by IDreger
This is rather interesting to hear everyones responses. The only reason I say this is because I was at work today (I live and work in Stevens Point) and a woman was talking about finding out tonite if they will let her son play or not. Another person then stated, "well a girl was on the wrestling team, she was from Tomahawk." (This made my ears perk up) So I put two and two together and realized, her son wanted to participate in a girls sport. On this issue I would have to say that the boy should be allowed to be on the girls gymnastics team. From personal experience, I would have much rather played on the girls teams (and did so during co-ed gym classes). I never participated in sports, but if I were to, I would have wanted to be with members of the opposite sex. Just my thoughts.

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:30 pm
by Deb Richardson
baby,the schools that run both genders, JV, Frosh, Varsity track on the same night do so for economics. What the **** does that have to do with a guy being allowed to compete on a girls gymnastics team. It doesn't even count as a co-ed sport. It's about busing kids to a single destination and doubling up the use of officals. It's about saving money, it's not about helping parents not have to run in two different directions. By this response and your other posts I think you need to get a gripe on reality.

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:21 pm
by aphephilia
Hey IAN!!! how's things at The Signal??? say Hi to Rae Jean for me if you see her!

Re: Attention attracted by gymnast's request puzzling

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:34 am
by tinman
Baby, did anything good ever happen in your dorm? Come on, I bet if you try hard you can think of something . :roll: According to news reports this morning , this young guy is out of luck. I think if they allow girls on what are traditionally considered to be boys teams, such as wrestling, there should be the same allowances given to the guys to join the girls. Otherwise, it's reverse sexism.