There is a recent trend of women empowerment in sports that has started in our college. For those who do not know what I’m referring to, it’s all these rules making it mandatory for the boys to let a girl play for the entire match. A big thank you to all the people who made it possible and encouraged girls to participate. One can see the result of their tireless efforts in the overwhelming response by girls across batches in the ongoing football and basketball league. This year, each team has two girls and their playing time has increased to at least one girl playing the entire match.
But to achieve this success, girls have had to be ‘convinced’ to give their names for the leagues. Most scenarios involved a senior approaching and trying to talk them into signing up. What they didn’t realize was that in the process of achieving enough female participation, they were forcing them to play. Arguments such as ‘This is how to learn to play, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t know how to play’ and ‘ How can you expect to go for a sports fest if you don’t even come downstairs to play in the leagues’ were often heard. So in the pressure of ‘trying not to piss off the senior’, ‘be in their good books’ or ‘just making sure they don’t eliminate you from the list of possible candidates for the fest’, one ends up giving their name, in spite of not knowing how to play.
Now, about the old argument that if you don’t play, you won’t learn – I agree that to learn a sport you have to start playing, but I don’t think a league is the place for it. What actually ends up happening is that instead of being empowered, a girl is usually even more demotivated. This happens because she doesn’t know how to play; she doesn’t get a chance to play. Mostly (always) the better girl player is chosen to play for almost the entire match, leaving the other girl hanging and wasting her time watching everyone play. Standing there and waiting to be a part of the playing five is so embarrassing and unproductive, and doesn’t result in anything good. Even in some cases, where they divide the time between the two girl players, the ball is never passed to her since she doesn’t play well and it’s a match and nobody wants to lose. How a person is supposed to learn how to play in such a situation is beyond my understanding.
A new initiative to encourage volleyball has been started by few girls of the fourth and third year. They are starting an all-girls volleyball league of sorts where ALL the girls get to play the entire match against each other. Practice sessions are held every day in the evening, where girls are TAUGHT how to play volleyball instead of being left stranded in the middle of the game. This will hopefully turn out to be more productive than the previous endeavors.