Friday, January 07, 2011
An Indiana child has been kicked off a middle school basketball team for wearing his hair too long. His parents have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the grooming policy.
From the Greensburg (Indiana) Daily News:
"The school's athletic policy bans hairstyles that "create problems of health and sanitation, obstruct vision, or call undue attention to the athlete." The policy also allows for coaches to add more restrictions. Current head varsity coach Stacy Meyer implemented a more restrictive policy to create a uniform, "clean-cut" image to the school's basketball program. Specifically, players' hair must be above the eyebrows, collars and ears. Recent pictures of the Haydens' son show the boy is perhaps a few snips away from meeting the policy. His hair is longer in the front, slightly brushing his eyebrows, and comes over his ears."
I take a dim view of rules that restrict participation in youth sports. And a dimmer one of rules that appear arbitrary and unnecessary as this one does. It is hard to believe that a boy with eyebrow-length bangs is a threat to the social order of Greensburg, Indiana.
It reminds me of the controversy about high school girls playing traditionally boys' sports such as wrestling and baseball. The abuse these girls put up with is amazing. The abusers are often disapproving coaches and parents concerned that a girl is depriving a boy of a roster spot, as if gender is some sort of birthright.
I wonder in what ways youth sports would be different if the tables were turned and children made the rules that we had to live by. My guess is there would be fewer coaches with hair-trigger tempers and overwrought parents making spectacles of themselves. And no rules about hair.