I saw this video yesterday that’s going viral on the internet right now. It’s a highlight reel of a 9-year old girl playing football with a bunch of boys. She looks pretty spectacular in the video as she blows past all the defenders and rumbles down the field for some long running plays. My little girls were nearby while I was watching the video, and I confess that I did not want them to see it. What she was doing was impressive, but it is not an aspirational model for little girls.
In the video above, you can see the commentators from ESPN grappling with whether or not it is appropriate for a little girl to play football with boys. Most of the men say no. One of them learned the lesson the hard way after his 15-year old daughter was seriously injured playing on her high school football team. Another one sounds like he has completely succumbed to the feminist spirit of the age and says he would encourage his little girls to play. But the rest of the guys agreed that it’s a bad idea. They aren’t arguing from a Christian perspective, but something in their gut tells them it’s wrong, and they are right.
I’m concerned about parents who would let their little girl play football with boys. But I’m even more concerned about parents who would allow their sons to participate. What have we become as a society when parents would cheer their sons to in any way strike or manhandle a girl? This is not good.
As a Christian, I find this kind of behavior to be particularly troublesome. This goes against everything I’m trying to teach my son about the way he is to treat girls. I aim to teach him that his responsibility is not merely a passive one—not hitting girls. His responsibility is an active one. It falls to him to be the protector of the girls in his life. Right now that relates chiefly to his three sisters, but it also extends to all little girls. I teach him that while he’s a boy so that he will be that way when he is a man.
To put my son on the football field and then to tell him to tackle a little girl would go against everything that I am trying to teach him. He would have to ignore his conscience, which I am actively trying to shape so that he will be a self-sacrificial protector of girls. Do we really want train a generation of boys through their playtime activities that it’s okay to pulverize little girls? It will be the unraveling of everything that is decent and good if we do.