Increased Investment in Female Sports


Carmen Young

Delia Rodriguez (10), member of the Willow Glen High School Flag Football Team

Gemma Wenzel, Activities/Athletics Writer

Just this year, the state of California added girls flag football as a high school sport. At Willow Glen High School, the first seasons of girls flag football and girls golf have exceeded expectations, with 31 girls playing flag football and 10 girls golfing. Eric Ostrowski, the athletic director at Willow Glen High School, explained that three fouths of girls playing fall sports had never played a fall sport before, and one fourth   of them had never before participated in any sport at WGHS. Ostrowski said that the girls flag football and the girls golf seasons started later and ended earlier than the normal fall season. Shortening the length of the flag football and girls golf seasons improved participation, as this avoided any overlap with winter sports.

In all its years, Willow Glen has never had a girls’ flag football team. Boys’ football has always been a popular sport, but there has never been a team just for girls’ football within our district. Our school is working hard to increase the number of girls participating in fall sports in hopes of growing interest in trying a winter or spring sport. Our school has had more and more girls wanting to try the newer sports; wrestling, flag football, and golf. There are still some issues to be resolved within the school’s wrestling team. At this time, girls do not have their own team and are required to compete against boys. In addition, girls do not get their own uniforms and are required to wear uniforms previously worn by boys.

The girls’ flag football team’s first season started this fall and has made its mark in Willow Glen High School history. So far, flag football has proven to be quite popular among the student population; it has brought together a community of girls who love playing on the field. The team bonded quickly. According to Annabelle Mericle, who scored the first touchdown of the season, “I like the sportsmanship and I like how close my team is and how everybody is very positive to one another.”

 Another sport that has recently been added to the list of sports offered at our school is girls’ golf. In the past, girls have had the opportunity to play golf but have never had their own team. They were always made to play as part of the boys team. With the addition of a golf team specifically for girls, participation has increased. This year, there were ten girls on the team but the hope is that word gets out that it’s now being offered and more girls choose to participate.

It is important that more girls sports are added to our state because gender equality has been a problem for many years. The members of the flag football team were asked about their views on gender equality and opportunities for female athletes. Delia Rodriguez responded “Women should be given the same opportunities and chances as men because everyone deserves to have equal opportunities.” Mericle also remarked that “[it] has been a fast growing sport and [she] thinks it’s the fastest growing female sport, which is astonishing … and it just goes to show that it’s not just a male sport; females can do it too”. Throughout the season not only have the girls created new friendships but they have also learned new skills. 

Overall, more girls’ sports have been introduced this year than in any preceding year. As participation in girls’ sports has increased, it has brought interest levels in these sports up to match those of their male counterparts. The introduction of new girls’ sports has had a positive impact among the student body as female student athletes now have more choices on what sports to play.  The introduction of these new sports has brought attention to the issue of gender inequality and demonstrated both our school’s and our district’s interest in achieving equality of opportunity among all students interested in playing sports.