Emily Nash, an 8th grader from Massachusetts, won a golf tournament for teen boys was denied the trophy because she is a girl.
This week, Emily was entered into a boys golf tournament as part of her school's team. While competing in the Massachusetts D3 Central Boys Golf Tournament, Emily shot from the mens' tees same tees as the boys. She ended the tournament with an impressive score of 75.
Emily won first place by 4 strokes, which, if you don't know golf, is a really impressive lead.... it's even an impressive lead in mini golf!
However, Emily's amazing score was not entered into the individual portion of the tournament. Instead, her score only counted toward her team's score.
As PGA.com reports, "That meant that the boy who finished second, Nico Ciolino, would be awarded the trophy." To make matters worse for Nash, the Lunenburg High School golf team she played with did not qualify for the state tournament, despite her amazing score.
So, why are girls allowed to participate in a tournament they can't win?
Richard Pearson -- Assistant Executive Director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association -- kindly explains: "We have girls play in the spring and boys play in the fall." Pearson continues. "There are a lot of instances where on the girls side, there may not be enough players to field a team in the spring. In that case, the girls can compete individually. To afford them the chance to be a part of a team, we also allow them to play with the boys teams in the fall, where their score can only count toward the team total."
Basically, the MIAA divides the genders into two separate seasons.
But, there's not enough golfers in every high school to have two teams.
The MIAA changed their own rule to lets the genders compete on teams together so the kids are allowed to play, but not the rule where any gender can win.
In the wake of the controversy, the MIAA released a statement explaining their current rules. In the press release, they did not mention Emily by name even once, instead referring to her as "Lunenburg's female golfer."
So, to get back to Emily...
... she did the best job on a level playing field...
...she's is not allowed to win due to archaic rules...
...her team of male counterparts kept her from succeeding...
...and when they talk about her, they can't even say her name...
Ultimately, there's no reason that golf can't be a unisex sport, especially at the high school level. Christopher Cole tweets, "Whichever boy received the trophy should immediately hand it over to Emily."
Well, he did! That actually happened.
As NPR reports, Nico, the male athlete who was awarded first place offered to give his trophy to Nash, saying she had earned it. However, Emily declined it. She said, "He came over and said he didn't win the tournament, that I did. It was really nice of him and respectful."
See? The kids get it.
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