Paige Sultzbach had been to second base before–quite a few times–but she’d never done anything there to make a guy outright leave before.
That is, until her local championship baseball game, when she made an entire team pack up and go.
Paige, 15, plays second base for Mesa Prep’s baseball team in Arizona because her school doesn’t have a girls’ softball team (which is a whole other annoying issue). They’re following the athletic association’s policy: if there’s no girls’ team for a particular sport, girls are free to join the boys’ team for that particular activity. Mesa Prep was set to face Our Lady of Sorrows Academy in the championship game–but Our Lady of Sorrows forfeited the entire championship just because a girl was playing second base.
Mesa Prep had played Our Lady of Sorrows twice previously on their turf, but Paige had been benched–willingly–for those games, out of respect for their beliefs. So why couldn’t Our Lady of Sorrows return that respect and let her play on a neutral field that she rightfully earned her spot to play on?
There are a lot of theories about Our Lady of Sorrows’ forfeiting the championship game. One is that the school is stuck in the last few centuries. Another is that they simply have a bit of narrow-minded thinking, since it’s not like baseball is a contact sport. Another is that they had their heads in the gutter regarding getting to second base with a girl. A surprisingly small number of people in the area think that Our Lady of Sorrows is being outright and deliberately discriminatory, but uh–if the act of forfeiting a game because of the gender of one of the players isn’t a discriminatory action, what is?
We have our own theory, though. Consider this: Mesa Prep was undefeated in the regular season. Given Mesa Prep’s spotless, victorious record, we think Our Lady of Sorrows may have been really intimidated by them, and thus by Paige. Could it be that a forfeit would be less painful for Our Lady of Sorrows than actually playing against–and losing–to a girl? We think so.
The whole scenario is pretty ridiculous to us, but we’re happy that Paige and her teammates are handling it so graciously. The fact that their brains aren’t stuck in the last century makes them winners to us.
Do you think all schools should have a girls’ softball team if they have a boys’ baseball team? Do you think Paige playing second base was a reason enough for the other team to forfeit? Do you think it was more sexist or that Our Lady of Sorrows simply stood by their beliefs? Tell us in the comments!