Think back to your younger years. You probably knew—or were—a female volleyball player, basketball player, track star, bowler, golfer or swimmer. But a girl football player? Unheard of, outside of the obnoxiously named “powderpuff” games. Which is why we love love love all these little girls fighting for their right to pass the pigskin with the boys.
The latest is Caroline Pla, an 11-year-old in Philadelphia. After playing on her local Catholic Youth Origination football team for two years, Pla was kicked off for being a girl when some jerk filed an anonymous complaint.
The CYO said it would let Caroline finish the 2012 football season, but after that she had to stop, ABC News reports.
“My mom told me and I was just really mad, because I just really wanted to play and I wanted to be able to have other girls be able to play,” Caroline said.
Different explanations were offered for the no-girls rule. One was that it wasn’t safe for girls to play football, but given that Caroline’s size and skills matched most of the boys on the team, that didn’t seem to make much sense.
Christina Settini, a reporter for Forbes, heard about a meeting the Catholic Youth Organization had convened to discuss the rule. From that emerged an entirely different reason for keeping girls out of play: a concern about “inappropriate touching,” Settini said.
UGH. But the Plas didn’t give up. Caroline started started a Change.org petition, gave interviews to local media and even appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
And the Archdiocese has reconsidered. The Archbishop of Philadelphia ruled yesterday that Pla can keep playing this year—and so can other girls.
“The Archdiocese will allow for co-ed participation in CYO football, effective in the 2013 season,” the Archbishop’s office said in a statement. “This approval is provisional. The decision will be reviewed and revised in the coming several seasons, as judged appropriate by the Archdiocese.”