Two separate, but related, stories represent a growing debate permeating throughout the competitive atmosphere of Massachusetts high school athletics. At the 2010 Western Massachusetts Division I girls’ field hockey championship game, the two title contenders were engaged in a highly competitive match with the score tied late in the game. With time running out, a player broke free from the field and scored the championship-winning goal as the player collided into the opposing team’s goaltender. Both the play and ensuing result appear relatively normal until it is revealed that a male student athlete, a standout performer in both ice hockey and lacrosse, scored the game-winning goal, and that the female goaltender suffered a concussion as a result of the collision.
One year later, at the 2011 Massachusetts Women’s South/Central Sectional Swimming and Diving Championships, one of the top female swimmers in the meet, who had trained all year to receive the honors and accolades associated with an individual championship, was forced to settle for second place. Competing in the fifty-yard freestyle, the female swimmer was the fastest female in the field but was out-touched by one of the several male athletes competing in the event. The male athlete, whose time would have failed to qualify for the Massachusetts Boys’ Swimming and Diving State Championship, received all of the individual accolades associated with an individual championship while the fastest female swimmer in the meet had to content herself with second place.