There was a time in life when women were seen as second class citizens. They couldn't vote, get a job or basically have an opinion whatsoever. They were, for all intents and purposes, relegated to the kitchen and told to shut up and wait for orders. Thankfully, society has evolved from that archaic stance and has given women more of an equal partnership in life.
That is, most of society has evolved.
For the Society of Saint Pius X, there is still a fine line between women and men, and that line showed up recently in the most innocent of areas: at the Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship game that was to be held on Thursday.
The Society of Saint Pius X is a group of conservative, traditionalist priests who disagreed with the reforms of the Vatican II Council in the 1960s and broke with the Catholic Church in the 1980s. They oversee many schools and churches, including Our Lady Of Sorrows, who was to play Mesa Prep for the Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship.
Unfortunately, because Mesa Prep has a girl on its 11-person roster, the game was forfeited by Our Lady Of Sorrows.
Paige Sultzbach, an avid fan of baseball, joined the high school baseball team at Mesa Prep at the insistence of their coach because she had no other options. The school didn't field a high school girls softball team. She made the boy's squad — to her delight — and was a key piece in the team's undefeated 9-0 record leading up to the championship game.
During the undefeated run, Mesa Prep faced and beat Our Lady Of Sorrows twice, while Sultzbach sat out both games out of respect for the other schools beliefs. For the big game though, Sultzbach made the descision any of us would have made and decided to play.
When hearing of her intent, Our Lady Of Sorrows promptly pulled out of the game, giving the title to Mesa Prep due to their forfeiting, much to the disbelief of many.
"This is not a contact sport, it shouldn't be an issue," Pamela said. "It wasn't that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it's that (they believe) that a girl's place is not on a field."
While the season ended with a championship for Mesa Prep, the way it ended leaves a sour taste in the mouths of those who wanted the season to end the right way; with a win on the field.
"This team has worked so hard," she said. "They're undefeated. They had one game left. At our school, we're taught that when you start something you complete it, and they weren't done."
In response, Our Lady of Sorrows athletic director Gerry Violette has put in a motion for the association's meeting next week that would create separate boys and girls sports.
Photo Credit: AP
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.