Field hockey at Malden High School is currently the only fall co-ed sport, but what if that changes? The school is contemplating whether to split it up into separate girls and boys teams.
Since more boys are joining field hockey, the team may have to separate. “There have been trends in the country, not just in Massachusetts, but across the country over the last few years with the participation rate in field hockey,” Christopher Mastrangelo, the principal at Malden High School, said. Students that identify as male have increasingly participated in this sport. “20 years ago, there might have been two teams in the league that had one or two boys,” Mastrangelo continued.
Unfortunately, the co-ed field hockey teams from other schools are shutting down as well. “There’s really going to be no opportunity for a co-ed sport so we’ll be caught in the middle somewhere. Male teams and female teams will be set, but the co-ed teams will only be able to play other schools that have co-ed teams. And those numbers, from my understanding, are dwindling,” Mastrangelo stated.
Matthew Garcia, a sophomore on the team, is not a fan of the idea. “The change from co-ed to boys and girls is really unfortunate. I met a lot of people during my time during the season and really got to know them. Now we’re getting split up and it sucks,” said Garcia.
Positive memories were made throughout the time they were there, and those memories and the team should be kept together. By tearing the team apart, you take away more memories to be made. Garcia shares one of his favorite experiences throughout his time with everyone: “My whole time on the team was really fun, but if I had to pick one memory, I’d say our banquet would be my favorite one.”
In co-ed sports, people of all genders can have time to bond and create new experiences together. Everyone can be a part of the same sport and not worry about being judged for it; it reassures people that their identity is not being invalidated.
People who do not associate with a certain gender or identify as something different from birth should not have to feel awkward or uncomfortable. Co-ed sports help people with those feelings. It might already be bad enough playing a sport in a body that does not feel like yours, but adding the gender labels onto everything makes it worse.