November 4, 2012

With two developing readers at home, I look forward to sharing each day’s KidsPost together. But I refused to let my daughters read Fred Bowen’s Oct. 25 column, “Rules shouldn’t give girls an unfair edge,” without supervision and guided discussion.

In his article, Bowen decried Lyberty Anderson’s golf success against boys as rigged in her favor. A balanced report about the benefits or detriments of co-ed competition for both genders would have been more useful to children than Bowen’s broad, one-sided view.

In golf, alternate tees are developed specifically to account for average muscle and strength differences between not only gender groups but also amateur and professional groups. Tee separations don’t give one an advantage on coordination, aim or agility — three defining characteristics of success in golf. Anderson played with the precision and concentration crucial to success in golf. Instead of graciously admitting that, with strength being equalized by appropriate tee-off spots, Anderson bested golfers of any gender, Bowen implied that boys should not accord her any accolades at all.

I agree that women who want to prove themselves against men should consider stepping up to the men’s level. Perhaps they are at the top of their female game and want an additional challenge. (This was the case with Annika Sorenstam.) Perhaps star co-ed high schoolers, to even the field, could consider the same tees with prior agreement; a well-balanced KidsPost article and critique of any gender disparity would have told readers whether this idea was even considered.

Bowen implied that Anderson was not a true champion because she scored well against par on only the women’s tees. His comments only undermine female athletics instead of focusing on the tenets of sports and pride in athletic achievement for youth of any gender.

Nicole Van Hoey, Arlington