Childhood Vikings

In grade school I wondered what am I ever going to do in the real world?

Isosceles triangles tormented me. I looked around and decided that math was for thin kids.

I knew that the little pink biology pig I was carving up was never EVER going to be splayed open again in my presence, so ideas of medical school went into the special trash container with porcine remains.

As a field hockey player, my coach would put me in the game for short periods only if she wanted to keep the EMT alert on the sidelines.

But, at least, I managed to get through my school years without a A.C.L. rupture.

The NY Times last week had an article titled, “The Uneven Playing Field” and apparently young girls playing youth sports today are not so lucky.

And, actually, luck really has nothing to do with it. The article points out that girls physically have more vulnerabilities to certain injuries because of their muscle/fat physiogy regardless of how talented they are in a particular sport.

Also, the article points out that the specialization of sports (choosing one that you do best) has produced youthful teammates all over the nation who are playing all the time, traveling out of state, through all seasons, and playing as if their whole identity was on the line. Ways of playing that made me think of professional sport players like Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics (see earlier entry Sports Opera Radio).

The rub, here, is that the girls’ rate of injury is off the charts.

“If girls and young women ruptured their A.C.L.’s at just twice the rate of boys and young men, it would be notable. Three times the rate would be astounding. But some researchers believe that in sports that both sexes play, and with similar rules — soccer, basketball, volleyball — female athletes rupture their A.C.L.’s at rates as high as five times that of males.” (NYTimes)

I know girls who love this game. One of them is my grand niece. (pictured above) When she talks to me in her kitchen about a movie, or American Idol, or anything else really, she is also doing footwork with a soccer ball at the same time. She has talent. She loves the game. She loves her teammates.

I sometimes go to her games and cheer her on. (YOUTUBE)

When I played field hockey, no one came to the games other than school personnel. They were played in the afternoon of school days. Working parents simply could not come.

In my case, it was a relief.

I had shots on goal, alright. Just not the right goal. Directionality was an issue.

I think it was that muscle/fat issue-thingy. (Hey, it could have been related somehow, couldn’t it? Ok..ok..then, just humor me.)

Years later, it appears to be an issue for the very talented ones as well.

©Pat Coakley 2008


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