OT - Grantland on the Girl/Baseball issue from last week

Submitted by JeepinBen on May 15th, 2012 at 9:49 AM


I thought this was extremely well written. Let's try to keep the politics/religion respectful, we did in the last thread.

I think Pierce hits a lot of correct notes here. I thought his "lack of justification" about baseball was quite interesting. And, of course, the kicker:

For all the theological dust they've thrown up to cover their cowardly retreat, Our Lady of Sorrows plainly and simply didn't want to lose to a girl.



May 15th, 2012 at 11:26 AM ^

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/keeling-pilaro-male-field-hockey-player-banned-being-160713816.html So this is obviously bigotry?  I don't remember seeing two threads expressing outrage about this subject... 

Also, I don't think the argument comparing races to this is completely accurate, as there are real differences between the genders biologically speaking, not so much between "races" (whatever they may or may not be).


May 15th, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

There is grey area in terms of what it means to "respect" their right to take an unpopular stance.  I respect it in the sense that I think they ought not to be prohibited by the government from taking it.  I also believe, though, that I can say that I think it's dumb despite the fact that it's an opinion based in religion.  The fact that an idea comes from religion shouldn't be a  "get out of jail free card" that allows you to evade criticism of your actions in the public arena. 


May 15th, 2012 at 11:11 AM ^

The freedom to express your religious beliefs does not also guarantee you freedom from being criticized for those beleifs.  It just means you can't be persecuted for them or denied your rights because of them.

Space Monkey

May 15th, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

In fact, that is the same logic behind the right to free speech. People are often very confused as to this and think that if they say something controversial and someone critcizes them for it, that their rights have been violated (Sara Palin is one that does not get this).

I also do not respect Our Lady of Sorrows (she must be in sorrow because she can't play), but understand they are in their rights. I also do not respect the KKK, but understand they have the right of free speech or religious affiliation. Just because they have these rights, does not mean we have to respect them for exercising them.



May 15th, 2012 at 11:37 AM ^

As noted, I disagree with Our Lady's position. (Having two daughters who play sports, and one who is currently on a coed travel soccer team, I better disagree!) I also agree with you that you should prepare to be criticized, disliked and often despised for taking an unpopular position. However, some of the suggestions I have read in the comments are moving into the area of persecution, or seeking to coerce or force Our Lady into abandoning their position. And our culture, particularly a supposedly open-minded university culture, is moving more in the direction of not allowing dissent from popularly accepted positions. This is what gives me great pause, and what causes my concern.

I would really, really like to give you a couple of actual examples of such coercion happening right now at Michigan and on other campuses. They are there. However, to do so would move the topic too far afield, invite flaming, and move posts to the penalty box, so I can't and won't do this. Suffice to say, there are real incidents right now where adult administrators are enforcing group think, not allowing unpopular positions, and forcing groups to disband because of their positions. I am concerned when our country and university are both moving in this direction, and denying basic freedoms for which many people and groups initially came to the US from Europe and the rest of the world.


May 15th, 2012 at 11:31 AM ^

I admittedly haven't read all the comments on these threads because I'm afraid I'll get too religious, but I have a general question.  Why is this any different than a Jewish school refusing to play basketball on the Sabath?  Does the fact that one school's belief is more socially acceptable make their position any more correct?  Both are standing up for their beliefs and aren't infringing on anyone else's rights, other than the "right" to compete.  Thankfully the basketball tournament rescheduled the game, but there didn't appear to be a similar solution in the baseball case, other than to make the girl sit.  While I don't agree with their position, I respect Sorrows' right to their beliefs.


May 15th, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

The Jewish team didn't make an implicit statement about whether or not a given player or players on another team ought to be playing basketball.   It didn't make a statement about another player or team at all.  It just said, "We don't play on Saturdays."  Sorrows, on the other hand, said,  "We're not playing because you have a girl on your team."  

One school discriminated against a day of the week.  Another discriminated against a person. 


May 15th, 2012 at 12:30 PM ^

You are deciding whose reasoning is correct and whose is flawed.  You can't do that with someone's belief system.  If there are concrete facts and indisputable reasons for believing something it becomes fact instead of a "belief".  IMHO, the Jewish team is implying that there is something wrong with teams that DO play on Saturdays.  What if they said they would not play on Martin Luther King Jr day or the 4th of July instead of Saturday, would you then think they were wrong?  That's implying there's something wrong with Dr. King or the USA.  Sorrows is not telling the girl to get off the field, they are removing themselves from the field.  To me there is a difference, but I guess we'll probably just have to agree to disagree.


May 15th, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

They joined a league and then cost another high school to lose the chance to play for a championship because they don't like the gender of one of that team's players.  They've entered the public sphere and are accordingly open to criticism for their actions - regardless of the motivation for those actions.   



May 15th, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

Just for the record, I don't agree with the position of the Sorrows team.  I also think they have opened themselves up to ridicule for their beliefs.  I guess I can disagree with their position but still respect them for at least staying true to their beliefs.  I see far to many people sway with the breeze of public opinion.

As far as the league and the championship game, there are all kinds of reasons a team may have to forfeit and thus cost the other team the chance to compete.  You just disagree with this reason.  I respect your right to do so.


May 15th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

As far as the league and the championship game, there are all kinds of reasons a team may have to forfeit and thus cost the other team the chance to compete.  You just disagree with this reason. 

You say that as if forfeiting because half of your team has the flu is the same as forfeiting because you don't want to play against a girl because you believe that a girl's place is not on a ball field.  The two just aren't the same.  The first is a blameless example of bad luck.  The second is a conscious decision rooted in a belief of the inequality of the sexes.  I don't "just" disagree with it.  It's wrong. 


May 15th, 2012 at 2:25 PM ^

I hate to break this to you, but there is a difference in the sexes and inherent athletic inequality.  If you don't believe me, watch a WNBA and then an NBA game.  You are chosing to be offended by the rest of what's implied by this sect's religious beliefs.


May 15th, 2012 at 12:52 PM ^

I'm not sure that leap can be made. A Jewish team that doesn't play on Saturdays doesn't seem to be implying that all who do play on Saturdays are incorrect or wrong.

The Sorrows team on the other hand. Their choice to forfeit is more specific and impactful because of where and how it's aimed. At a specific person/group of people/etc.

I don't think a Jewish team not playing on Saturday is a condemnation of anything.

I do think a team forfeiting because a girl is on the other team is most definitely a condemnation.

But, unfortunately, it's a falsely paternal world, homie. Driven by fear.


May 15th, 2012 at 1:20 PM ^

I feel that the Jewish team is saying "It's wrong for Jews to play on Saturdays" is more that line of reasoning. Similarly it could be that the Sorrows team is saying "It's wrong for Sorrows boys to play against girls"... but that's not really what I got from the situation, especially taking into account some of the Pious X's people's takes on women and women's roles.


May 15th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

If I understand correctly, you are saying that a Jew can differentiate between his personal belief system and that of others and not condemn them for said unbelief.  However, you do not believe that the Sorrows team can have a personal belief system and carry out that belief without condemnation to others.  Interesting.

Edit:  That response was supposed to be to JBE. Not sure what happened there.  Also, I'm not equating Judaism to this sect of the Catholic church.  I agree with most of Judaism.  The other, not so much.


May 15th, 2012 at 1:58 PM ^

I didn't like the word choice before, so I changed condemning to impacting, although I do feel Sorrows is definitely condenming a certain range of thought here.

My questions: 

What is a team - a Jewish team being used in this circumstance - that doesn't play on Saturdays directly impacting?

And then what is a team that doesn't play a game because a girl is on the field directly impacting?

I can seem to muster some answers for the second question, although they're long and complicated. Something about both the positive and negative implications, mostly negaitive, of the act, in consideration of social spheres and spaces, notions of gender, or maybe even systemic attitudes, etc.

But I can't seem to answer the first one. I can't see how a team not playing on Saturdays directly, positively or negatively, impacts anyone excpect those within that culture that choose not to participate, or choose to participate for that matter, in the activity. 

So please tell me how a team that doesn't play on Saturday impacts anyone besides the people making that choice - people outside that group or culture? And please don't say scheduling conflicts.



May 15th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

I don't think that a team not playing on Saturday in itself causes problems for anyone.  I also don't think that a team not playing another team because they have a girl causes problems for anyone.  If the girl decides to be offended because of the act then she is helping them accomplish their goal of discriminating against women (I'm assuming that's one of your negative items).  They did not ask for her to be removed from the field.  As far as I know, they didn't intimidate her in any way.  I would tell my daughter that she did nothing wrong, they are entitled to their beliefs, and enjoy your championship.  We would have beat the crap out of them anyway.

My comparison of the Jewish team and the Sorrows team was meant to be taken on a level of how they hold their beliefs sacred and how those beliefs color their view of the society around them.  Everyone appears to be offended by how the Sorrows school views women and their role in society.  I may be wrong, but don't Jews (and many other religions, including mine) believe that anyone who doesn't follow their belief is going to Hell or some equivalent?  That was were the equivalent of not playing on the Sabbath came in.  If you are a Jew and don't keep it, that's a sin.  If you aren't a Jew, you can not be redeemed.  I guess I just don't understand how the MGoCommunity seems to be so offended by one and able to just brush off the other.


May 15th, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

First, my understanding of Sheol is that it is a place of punishment and pain and generally a place you don't want to be for eternity.  Otherwise there are a whole bunch of rules established to avoid a place that really isn't that bad.  Second, what is refusing to play on Saturday other than taking action on a belief? Again, you are deeming one ok and one offensive, but you already said you were allowed to do that, so I say agree to disagree.


May 15th, 2012 at 2:28 PM ^

but it's not emphasised. Satan exists too, just as a kind of embodiment of evil, not a fallen angel etc. etc.

There are a whole bunch of rules established without a whole bunch of dogmatic justification. It's a totally different set up than the general "Do this to get to Heaven" idea that is prevelant in other religions.

I believe the line in Torah is "If you pick up a bundle of wood on the Sabbath you'll be struck down" and killed. Which... yeah, there's an idea of punishment, but at the same time how literally you accept every word and then act on it is really up to the individual.


May 15th, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

You asked why we aren't offended by a given religion's belief that everyone who doesn't hold their beliefs is going to hell.  The reason is that it isn't an action (not that I can speak for anyone else)...Not all actions are offensive, though (at the risk of stating the obvious).  As has been well explained here, refusing to play on a Saturday is different than refusing to play b/c the other team has a female player.  I'm not just deeming the two acts to be different.  They are different. 

Let's take an admittedly extreme* example:  The Taliban enters an Afghan village and starts beating any woman who it sees doing something other than domestic work (however they'd define that).  That would be very different than a basketball team refusing to play on Saturday, but both involve people taking action based on religious belief.  My point being:  You can't just say, "Well, Group X is engaging in Action Y because of a regligious belief, and you can't criticize or disprove a belief" and not think about it any further.  Not all religiously-motivated acts are the same. 



*Please, again, note where I said "admittedly extreme." 


May 15th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

I understand what you are saying. I think I keep getting hung up on the idea that the girl is automatically injured or wronged by the other team's belief. There are many people who think Polish people are stupid but I have to make a choice to let their beliefs have a negative impact on my life.


May 15th, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

I guess they lost a chance to earn it but they are still the champions.  They beat every team they had the opportunity to play in the tournament and that is all they could do.  If they feel cheapened by the way it ended, then they should challenge the last team that lost to the Sorrows team to a game for the championship, then they will have won it on the field.


May 15th, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

Fair enough. Beliefs on their own are harmless. It's how they're used that can be harmful or helpful. I just feel the way Sorrow used belief was impactful on a variety of levels, and the way belief was used in the Jewish team example was not very impactful. 

And Sorrow did forfeit. And the whether or not this was a passive aggressive ploy to impose their beliefs is very subjective. And even though you may tell the girl it's not her fault, that these people just think a different way, honey, it still plants a seed, a seed that often is very real and grows very large in society. 


May 15th, 2012 at 2:24 PM ^

As a Jew I don't speak for all of us or the religion as a whole, but we're much less concerned with what everyone else does than many other religions. We don't really believe in Hell or an equivalent, or the idea of redemption/salvation that is popular in, say, Christianity.

Judaism doesn't preach that all non-Jews are making huge mistakes, Judaism really focuses on how to live your life as a Jew. I've seen a lot more Jew-on-Jew hate due to varying opinions on observance than I have seen Jew-judging-others-for-not-being-Jewish.


May 15th, 2012 at 2:27 PM ^

Like I said, I'm not a Jewish scholar and I really just used the example of the Jewish team because it was recently in the news.  I'm sorry that I misrepresented your beliefs.


May 15th, 2012 at 2:34 PM ^

No harm no foul. You've been extremely respectful throughout the whole conversation and I haven't felt offended by anything you've said. I can only share my experience with Judaism, I can't speak for all of us. One of my best friends grew up Catholic and he had heard all the things about how Jews had horns etc. My girlfriend also grew up Catholic and had never heard any of that. Just because it's the same religion doesn't imply identical experiences. Other Jewish posters on the board could have totally different beliefs and experiences.

Plus, I don't want to make it seem like we Jews have everything figured out either. Depending on who you ask (which group of Jewish Scholars) you'll get very different answers on simple things. A simple dietary law for example. Food can be milk, meat, or neither, and you can't mix milk and meat groups. Everyone agrees that after you consume any food that's classified as "Milk" you have to wait at least 3 hours before consuming anything that's classified as "Meat". But, depending on who you ask, after "meat" you have to wait 3, 6, or 8 hours before you have "Milk". This all stemmed from a line in Torah about how you "shouldn't cook a kid (baby goat) in it's mother's milk."  


May 15th, 2012 at 3:21 PM ^

One of my best friends grew up Catholic and he had heard all the things about how Jews had horns etc.

You just explained something I never understood about the copy of Michelangelo's Moses my dad has.  I wasn't aware of that belief among Catholics (my dad grew up in a church that held mass entirely in Polish and Latin).  I think I'm glad he decided to let me figure out religion on my own.  I appreciate the insight.  I am listening to the Bible in a year on my lunch breaks and this actually helps me understand a lot of the Torah (I'm halfway through Deuteronomy(14:21 mentions the kid in mother's milk, but I think it was also in Numbers or Leviticus)).


May 15th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

I dunno many places on the internet where discussions around (essentially) religion and politics can be this civil and well thought out.

Also, I'd argure your first mistake is delving into translated historical texts... but that's another discussion for another time. The Torah reads very differently in hebrew than it does in any other language, just like newer texts should be studied in aramaic or greek. The other issue is after you get through Torah the order of the rest of the books. They were all individual scrolls that were cannonized by people to fit a specific story. For example, the Tanach (or the Old Testament books) in their Jewish cannon end with talk of redemtion and returning to the land of Israel. Most Old Testaments end with talk of the messianic age and it goes right into the start of the New Testament and the birth of Jesus.

Religion sure would be simpler if weren't for all the people involved....


May 15th, 2012 at 3:58 PM ^

I have tried to read the New Testament in Greek.  I took a year of ancient Greek to fulfill the second year of my foreign language requirement in college.  One year does not prepare you for all the ways that language can be translated, not to mention the tenses, etc we don't have in English.  I agree on the civility, I'm glad we didn't take this to a dark place (myself included).


May 15th, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

Happened to me all the time in high school hockey. I'm Jewish and teams would often try to schedule games on either Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. Many other teams in the area didn't have Jewish players, so there was no reason they couldn't schedule games on those days. My teams often had at least one other Jew, but levels of observance differ. I wouldn't play either day (easiest way to explain it) and I was one of 2 goalies on the team.

Some opponents worked with us and scheduled around it. Some didn't. Some were total assholes about using it to try to get a win. As one of 2 goalies, if I didn't dress and the other goalie got hurt, we would have been in big trouble. I wasn't in the scheduling meetings, but I know it was broached early in the meetings that "We don't want to play on this day" (like a Jewish team making it known they won't play on Saturday or BYU making it known that they won't on Sunday). Some people respected that, some didn't.


May 15th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

Hey, while reading through this part of the discussion, something just struck me as funny and I started laughing out loud. First let me state that I am not picking on anyone or trying to be rude. I was reading your post and I envisioned a Mel Brooks type skit in the hockey locker room, where the Jewish kids (they were the Hasidic Jews, with the long side burns and the big hats. They were wearing those as part of the hockey uniform) and the Christian kids who were dressed somewhat like the Catholic alter boys. They were arguing and shouting about scheduleing games and what was acceptable as a sports drink...it was weird but it really just made me start laughing.

Sorry, I was not trying to offend anyone, just thought I would share.



May 15th, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

Saying that you won't play on a certain day of the week because of a religious observance is not being hurtful or using your religion as a weapon to harm others.  It is expressing a religious belief that YOU should not play on that day, so YOU are not going to.  You aren't going to play any games on that day regardless of anyone or anything else.

Saying that you won't play another team because of the content of their team IS hurtful and is using religion as a weapon.  It is blaming the other team for the entire problem.  "We would play, if you would just get rid of (player X).  It is a tactic that has been used to persecute minority groups in the past.

I see the two as being very very different.  I don't personally agree with either choice, but I find one to be acceptable and the other to be reprehensible.


May 15th, 2012 at 11:52 AM ^

Another example of a team not playing on a specific day is Wheaton College, located in Wheaton, Illinois, not far from where I live. They have been very successful in Division III sports, with several athletes going on to the NFL and MLB. As a school with an evangelical affiliation, they don't schedule games on Sundays. In their leagues, which I believe are largely made up of other Christian schools, this isn't a problem. (After all, Michigan doesn't schedule football games on Sundays either.) However, because of Wheaton's success, it created problems in the post-season. I have been told by an assistant coach that at least in lacrosse, post-season scheduling took their stance into account. Lacrosse tournament and championship schedules avoided having games on Sundays where Wheaton might be forced to forfeit.

Hemlock Philosopher

May 15th, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

I disagree with tolerating intolerance for the sake of saying we are a free and open society. Sure they can hold that belief, but I am not going to tolerate it and I will fight against it. Their belief is nothing but bigoted bullshit under the guise of religious freedom. Their beliefs on women's roles in society has no acceptable place here. Most, if not all, of us are disgusted about marginalization of women in the Middle East, why not here? 


May 15th, 2012 at 2:12 PM ^

So, because it is not YOUR beleif, it is bullshit? Last time I went to war, it was so that people in this country could do just this very sort of thing.


That said, freedom of speech is not the same as freedom from the consequenses of saying something inflammatory.


May 15th, 2012 at 4:19 PM ^

You went to war so that a school could make a public display of its backwards, spiteful opinion of women? I kinda wish you hadn't done that.

Look, I get that we don't want the government to outlaw the contemptible shit this school is spewing in this case, which is not even very thinly veiled misogyny. But saying you don't want it to be illegal is a far cry from saying such opinions or actions should be tolerated in a social sense.


May 15th, 2012 at 12:32 PM ^

For those of you hiding behind freedom of religion/speech/expression, you need to understand that there's nothing about any of those concepts that prohibits your fellow citizen from expressing THEIR view that YOUR view makes you an asshole...and that's what these kids are...a bunch of little assholes.

Should they be legally forced to play a baseball game they don't want to play in because it conflicts with their made up belief system? Absolutely not. Should they expect and accept that they're going to open themselves up to legitimate criticism when they all get sand in their vaginas over the fact that a girl wants to play baseball too? You bet they should.