Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No Change in Gender Policy at Parks and Rec

Last night the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (on which I serve) and a Legislative Review Committee of City Council (Representatives Ortega, Holguin, Lilly and Acosta) met together regarding Susie Byrd's proposed change for the gender rules. Her proposal arose from a girl who wanted to play with a boy's competitive soccer team. The girl and her mother were present and her mother gave her case and answered questions.

Actually, the proposal before the Board and the LRC was the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Department to maintain the status quo. Paula Powell gave the presentation for the Department. The gist of her argument was that to grant an exception would put city teams in violation of UIL or other governing body rules and thus disqualify all teams from playing beyond City play. Obviously with competitive leagues teams want to go to tournaments, state and national playoffs. Moreover, the mother and daughter seeking the exception were involved in a soccer league. The City doesn't manage soccer leagues. Finally, once the Mom heard that everyone would be disqualified, she backed down. Both the Advisory Board and the LRC voted to maintain the status quo. There were two "no" votes: Ruben Robles (like me from District 2 - Susie Byrd's district) and Trini Munoz.

I think that Susie's point is good but needs to be directed to the UIL or other governing bodies. I am all for opening up more and more opportunities for all individuals and I can't see why a girl can't play on a competitive boy's team if her coach wants her. However, as the rules exist now, to do so would vastly limit the opportunities afforded not just to one person but to all persons in that league. Again, the argument must be made higher up.
Also, outdoor soccer is not managed by the City so this case really wasn't our case. Finally, I think that it would have been better had Representative Byrd's proposal come before us in the first place and have been articulated as well as the Park's Department presentation was. I would have liked to have heard it as the proposal rather than the status quo. Still, given the facts (UIL rules, soccer not under City management, etc.), I would have voted the same way.

However, I would be glad to address the same issue to the governing bodies higher up.

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