Feminine Gamification Viewpoint: Mixed teams
A story about a youth basketball team being disqualified, really made me wonder about how little progress has been made in some circles. The Charlotte Cavaliers were set to play off in the semi-finals of their league only to find out having a girl on their team in a boys league stopped them from progressing to the final and potentially greater success. The 10 year olds never made the distinction, they accepted the girls just like their other team mates. Potentially it was winning at all costs that caused someone to look into rule books about gender participation.
When I was growing up I played basketball and I had the privilege of finding all girls teams but typically only after a certain age. In street basket I mixed with the guys, because very few girls would show up. In fact I was challenged by one guy to prove if I was good enough to mixing in with the boys in a one-to-one contest. I won, his big bravado character was a bit dented and any time I rocked up to play, I was just added to a team (often his). Later I coached boys teams in the youth league and for the youngest age groups we had a mixed team, because no girls teams had teams for children of this age. In my experience the response of competitors was usually amusing and opposing teams often saw it as an advantage to play against a girl. The girls on my teams were strong enough and blended in well. For them it was just their favourite sports. We were never disqualified.
It is sad that in this day and age in youth basketball this is a problem. Following their disqualification the team had stood at the semi-final wearing pink shirts in support of Kymora the girl on their team and in protest against the rule. However the response by the WNBA team New York Liberty was great. They flew the youth team to New York to have them play an exhibition game in Madison Square Garden, they also gave the whole team t-shirts with the slogan “Girls don’t sit on the bench”. The New York Liberty does a lot of work to promote inclusion and strives to inspire young women to burn bright in everything they do. #burnbright
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What playful campaigns will you do to encourage inclusion?