The growing trend in Section V
Posted at: 09/13/2012 4:56 PM
| Updated at: 09/13/2012 6:19 PM
By: Robin De Wind | WHEC.com
Title IX requires girls to have the same opportunities to compete in sports as boys, but what about allowing boys to compete on girls’ teams. It’s a growing trend in Section V, especially in volleyball.
One local athlete loves the sport of volleyball, but when budget cuts stopped him from being able to play on the boys’ team at school; he tried out for the girls’ team.
Ben Ellingham, Pittsford Mendon senior, said, “I've never really been a football or soccer player I tried it but it wasn't my love, I tried volleyball and something just clicked for me.”
Mendon senior Ben Ellingham certainly stands out on the volleyball court.
Ellingham said, “The first year, I was out of my comfort zone, but I got used to it.”
He comes from a volleyball family, but when it became his turn to play for his school, the boys program was whittled away each year due to budget cuts. So as a freshman, Ben became the first boy in Section V to play on a varsity girls’ volleyball team.
Jeffrey Kotalik, Mendon Girls’ Volleyball Coach, said, “Everyone has a right to compete Title IX reverse Title IX, they have a right to compete so we don't have a boys program here so what are my options.”
It wasn’t easy at first, there’s no protocol for situation. The district, Section V and New York State all had to approve it.
Section V thought it there’s no significant adverse effect than Ben could play and since he’s 5’11” and not 6’4” and female players weren’t being cut as a result, why not make Ben the team’s setter, it’s sort of fitting.
Ellingham said, “It's a little interesting sometimes I just see it as any other team.”
McKenna Reese, Mendon senior, said, “He’s always really positive and dependable he's just a great addition to the family.”
Ellingham doesn’t mind not being one of the guys, but it hasn’t been easy.
Ellingham said, “Some crowds just handle it and some make fun of me sometimes I just put it aside.”
He brushes off all the attention, both good and bad, and is willing to set an example. He wants to play the sport he loves for his school.
Kotalik said, “Yes you can play at the Y, play club, it all costs money but we all want to play for our school and we want to win championships or have the opportunity, Ben's no different.”
There are now eight boys in Section V playing volleyball on girls’ teams. Some districts allow boys to play for different schools if the sport is not available. Pittsford School District does not.