I have been joining Walsh at school for lunch and some playground time, and one of the big things I have noticed about second grade is they love to create uneven (dare I say unfair) teams. (I won’t even get into the cheating with playground games – you can only kick a home run if you kick it directly over second base! Huh, what!)
Invariably when they kids play kickball on their own the five biggest boys in the second grade (who all play baseball and have for years!) assign themselves to the same team. The other team is generally Walsh (who has a May birthday and is much smaller than other guys), two guys who play pretty good and then any girls who happen to be hanging around. There are two girls that play really well and then a bunch that just stand there. The team with the five giant boys wins every time!
When it has just been big boys playing little boys I have said to them “You do realize these are unfair teams.” (Deaf ears on the big guys of course. The little guys are like “Yes, we know it!)
But when there have been girls playing I have bit my tongue not to say “You do realize these are unfair teams.”
I don’t want to make the girls feel bad or less than the guys, but the truth is most of them (not all) have less experience playing ball in general, have spent far less time practicing catching and kicking and are just plain smaller than the boys.
Walsh came home yesterday and told me they played soccer on the playground and that is was boys vs. girls and the boys won 19 to 0. I felt terrible for the girls. I know some girls play soccer often and really well but apparently it wasn’t enough to beat a pack of bigger boys.
So I guess my point is I am torn. I want girls to believe they can do anything as well as boys and can achieve any goal they set their minds to. However, the reality is (at least in playground sports) they are often physically smaller and sometimes less experienced. So do you explain that to the boys and the girls?
Which is more crushing to their egos: To get beaten every day in games on the playground or to tell them, “Listen you’re just smaller and less experienced. That’s all. You need to lobby for more even teams.”
I will say this though in Four Square the girls DOMINATE!! And they run that square life the Mafia. Nobody is moving up unless the girls say so. They can be vicious servers depending on who is in Square No. 2.
Does the Four Square even things out? Or should the kids be encouraged to mix up the teams and keep them more even size-wise? (Maybe the PE teacher could talk about picking teams and keeping things even on the playground.)
In an age of post-women’s lib, are Boys vs Girls unfair teams? Can we say that?
– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. I have increased my Twitter activity. I am sending out great stories for moms each day focusing on health, fitness, sex, entertainment, food, travel and obviously parenting! So follow me on Twitter at @AJCMOMania!)