Saturday, April 04, 2009
same sport, different gender
The Christ School Girls' Football Team was to play their first-ever match yesterday, against St. Mary's Simbya. Only sadly, St. Mary's never showed up to play. It seems they probably don't even have a team, in spite of teachers agreeing to the match in that classic African don't-want-to-disappoint concession. Meanwhile Ashley's team at CSB had such hopes of playing competitively, in their donated uniforms and new-used cleats. Since they had the full field (a rare gift in the season when the boys' team is in full practice), they instead scrimmaged against each other, and came out 2 to 2. It was still empowering for the girls to play full-field, have a few spectators, dress the part, run and run and kick. Promoting girls' sports is more than an uphill battle, it is an up-mountain one. There is no other school nearby willing to invest their meager space and resources in girls when they scrape to even support boys. In spite of good evidence that girls in sports delay pregnancy, have a stronger self-image, achieve greater physical health, and perform strongly in their academics . . . the barriers of cultural expectation (even the dress code), domination by boys, lack of equipment, lack of role models, all conspire to make this a pioneering effort. Still, other schools in Uganda have girls' football, and Bundibugyo will some day follow suit. JD started the team, interns like Lydia have boosted the process (even i used to play with them when they were desperate . . ). Ashley has taken it one giant step forward. We look forward to the day when girls can play.