Should Girls Compete Against Boys?

sports

Christine Cipriano can empathize with Sydney Phillips.

When Cipriano was 15, she wanted to play baseball. That was 1975, when the growth of girls’ sports was in the early stages, and playing organized athletics with the opposite sex was rarely tolerated. But the Staten Island Babe Ruth League gave her a spot on one of their baseball rosters and, guess what? The world didn’t end.

“If the fact that I was playing made anyone unhappy, I never knew,” Cipriano said.

So when Cipriano learned that Phillips, a seventh-grader, was denied a chance to play with the boys even though her school, St. Theresa’s of Kenilworth, New Jersey, didn’t have a girls’ team, it took her by surprise.

She thought those shortsighted days were long gone.

“If she wants to play and has the skills, why not give her an opportunity?” Cipriano said. “At that age, what’s the big deal? Missing a year of playing the sport could hurt her development.”

Cipriano never expected a baseball career would spring from that one season of playing Babe Ruth ball. To her, it was all about the fun and the chance to compete in a sport she enjoyed.

Playing sports with the boys wasn’t a new thing for Cipriano.

“I was always playing with the boys in the streets,” she said. “Football, basketball and baseball. I had a great arm.”

While she was on the softball and girls’ bowling teams at New Dorp High School, she wasn’t aware that there were, in fact, some girls’ softball leagues cropping up. When she mentioned to her uncle, who was active at the Staten Island Little League, that she wished she could play organized baseball, he inquired about the possibility. Next thing Cipriano knew, she was invited to a practice.

“It was a little odd, and my teammates did get teased sometimes, but they wound up supporting me,” Cipriano said. “If any of the parents weren’t happy about it, I never knew it. In fact, I remember the parents from the other teams coming to the field and asking where the girl is playing.”

That wasn’t always easy to tell, she laughed, since she had short hair and really didn’t look much different than the boys, “except I was smaller.”

And while she only played that one year, the fond memories of being the only girl in an all-boys league for 13- to 15-year-olds remain with her to this day.

“I remember getting hit by a pitch in the back, which hurt — that wasn’t so great,” she said with a chuckle. “I played mostly right field, and had some hits. In fact, I hit a home run.”

To her surprise, she was asked to take part in the league’s all-star game.

She didn’t go back for a second season, however. “Some of the boys had gotten so big by 16, 17 years old, I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to continue.”

She did distinguish herself as a high school athlete, and her bowling prowess extended into adulthood. She made her mark on Staten Island’s bowling circuit and, in fact, was elected to the Staten Island Bowling Hall of Fame.

While not bowling these days, sports are still a part of her life. Besides working as a nurse and massage therapist, Cipriano is a certified golf teaching professional, specializing in helping men and women use golf to foster business relationships. Known as “the putting queen,” that side of the story is on her website: www.fitforthetee.com.

“Some guys don’t like being shown up by a girl; it’s an ego thing with some of them,” Cipriano said. “I still see that on the golf course.”

But 42 years ago, the boys welcomed Cipriano to share the baseball field with them. She proved she was up to it — and had an experience she’ll always treasure.

Joe LoVerde has coached youth sports on Staten Island for more than 40 years. He’s also a longtime newspaper editor and sportswriter.

Posted in Featured Articles


«       Apr 2018       » loading...
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1. Family Storytime: Spanish Read Aloud – Cuentos y Cantos

    April 25 @ 10:30 am - 10:30 pm
    April 25, 2018  |  10:30 am - 10:30 pm
    South Beach Library
    Children and their parents/caregivers can enjoy stories, and songs in Spanish. Acompáñenos a compartir y cultivar nuestras raíces con otros padres y niños de la comunidad para fortalecer el aprendizaje de los niños a través de canciones y lectura en
  2. Story Time For All

    April 25 @ 11:00 am
    April 25, 2018  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Richmondtown Library
    Join us for interactive stories, songs, and coloring followed by play time for children to socialize. For Ages 18 months to 5 years.
  3. Clay Day

    April 25 @ 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    April 25, 2018  |  1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    SI Children's Museum
  4. Mechanical Wave Machine

    April 25 @ 4:00 pm
    April 25, 2018  |  4:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    South Beach Library
    Participants make a large-scale machine that demonstrates how waves work using wooden dowels, duct tape, and gummy candy. We will also demonstrate a simple oscilloscope that uses a laser beam to show how sound waves look. For ages 13 -18
  5. Lego Club

    April 25 @ 4:00 pm
    April 25, 2018  |  4:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library
    LEGO CLUB GET CREATIVE AND BUILD!!!! The library will supply legos, while you provide the imagination All materials must stay at the libray —- so bring a camera to document your creations!! first come— first served recommended for age 8-14
  6. Family Storytime: Stay & Play Storytime

    April 25 @ 4:00 pm
    April 25, 2018  |  4:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Tottenville Library
    First, we’ll share some fun, interactive stories together. Then we invite you to stay, play and enjoy the library’s toys & exploration stations. Meet other families in the neighborhood! Recommended for ages 3 and up. No pre-registration required.
  7. Bookcraft

    April 25 @ 4:00 pm
    April 25, 2018  |  4:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Stapleton Library
    Have a blast listening to stories and making a fun craft!
  8. Family Storytime: Picture Book Time

    April 25 @ 4:00 pm
    April 25, 2018  |  4:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    New Dorp Library
    Enjoy hearing books read aloud, fingerplays action rhymes and coloring. For ages 3 years and up with caregiver.
  9. Evening Group Hike

    April 25 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    April 25, 2018  |  6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Every Wednesday: Join us for our weekly evening, guided hike where we will cover 4/5 miles. There are some small climbs but it’s fairly easy. You will probably see parts of the Greenbelt and the trail system that you haven’t
  10. Peepers: Learning about Nature

    April 26 @ 9:45 am - 10:15 am
    April 26, 2018  |  9:45 am - 10:15 am
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Thursdays through May 31: Through hands-on activities, crafts, and stories, 2 year-olds and their caregivers will become familiar with the sights and sounds of the forest. Space is limited. Registration required. Fee: $3 non-members/Free for Greenbelt Conservancy members