(Copyright 2000. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

August 14, 2000

Girls just wanna play ball

By Katie Jordan

The Tattoo

The crack of the bat as it hits the ball, your feet pounding as
you run the bases, the cheering of the crowd. These are just
some of the reasons so many people are drawn to baseball,
the all-American pastime.

But girls attending Chippens Hill Middle School have never
played baseball on the school team because at this school,
girls have only one choice: softball.

Some girls who play on the Chippens Hill softball team said
they should be able to play baseball, too.

Ashley Elliott, who was on the softball team last year, is one
such girl. Elliott has also played baseball (not on a team, just
for fun) and said she would sign up if girls could play.

She prefers baseball, Elliott said, because the smaller ball is
easier to hold than the large softball. The size of the baseball
also makes the game more challenging. Because it's small, it
travels quickly and is also harder to hit.

Another girl who said she would rather play baseball is
Danielle Clavette, a sixth grade student at Chippens Hill.
Clavette said baseball seems like more fun, and easier than
softball. She also said it's unfair that girls don't get a chance,
and that it seems that people like boys better.

"They don't even put girls in the paper," said Clavette.

But because baseball is more difficult, some girls would
rather play softball.

Jennifer Evanoski and Heather Culver both said they prefer
softball. Evanoski said baseball is too fast-paced.

"They're both the same, except the baseball's smaller," said

Although neither of these two wants to play baseball, they
still said girls should be allowed to play if they want to do it.

Not only girls on the softball team said they should be able
to play baseball.

Dana LeBlanc isn't on the softball team, but still said baseball
should be open to girls as well.

Boys also said that girls should be allowed to play baseball.

Thomas Lachance and Kyle Dess are both baseball players
who said girls should be able to play, too.

"If they're good enough," said Dess, "they should be able to
play on the school team."

"America is supposed to be free!" said Lachance.

But there is a reason for this rule, one baseball official said.

Though to girls who want to play baseball, it may seem very
unfair, the rule is actually intended to make the game more
fair, according to Stephen Spinelli, a science teacher at
Chippens Hill who is also manager of the sports teams there.

According to Spinelli, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic
Conference has a general rule that prevents girls from playing
the same game as boys.

A list of eligibility rules for girls and boys is available on the
CIAC website as www.casciac.org.

The rule states, "Girls may participate on boys teams. Girls
may participate on either a girls' team or a boys' team in the
same sport, but not both, within a time period of one school

"However, a member school has discretion to exclude girls
from boys' teams when it can demonstrate that its overall
sports program does not limit athletic opportunity for girls.

"Girls who participate on boys' teams may enter either the
boys' or the girls' state tournament, but not both. Boys may
not participate on girls' teams."

If girls and boys did play together, the boys would have an
advantage because most girls cannot compete physically with
boys in sports.

"It's unfair for the one or two girls who really excel and
could compete with the boys," said Spinelli.

But to make it fair for those few would be to make it unfair
for all the others, he said.

So, for now, girls have to settle for softball.