Teen Golfer Couldn’t Claim Her First-Place Trophy Because She’s A Girl

“It’s a real injustice that she wasn’t announced as the winner,” said Robert Dufresne, a volunteer tournament official, about the sexist rule.

Every time we start to think the world is making strides toward gender equality, an egregious roadblock reminds us that there’s still quite a long way to go.

A teen female golfer shot the best score at a Massachusetts high school golf tournament on Tuesday but was not announced as the winner because she’s a girl.

According to Golf Digest, Lunenburg High School junior Emily Nash was not eligible to claim her rightful title as winner of the Central Mass. Division 3 boys’ golf tournament because of her gender.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules state that girls who play on fall boys’ sports team cannot compete in individual championships. So, although Nash’s score counted toward her team’s total, it was disqualified from the individual competition.

Essentially, she could only be recognized for her efforts based on how they affected the entire male-dominated team. 

“It’s a real injustice that she wasn’t announced as the winner,” Robert Dufresne, a volunteer rules official who helped run the tournament, reportedly told The Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

While it definitely is unfair, it should be noted that Nash and her coach were told of the out-of-touch rule before the tournament even began.

Nico Ciolino — who technically came in second place but was declared winner due to the technicality — offered his first-place trophy to Nash, but she didn’t accept it. However, the tournament director, Kevin Riordan, said he plans to purchase a special trophy for her. 

This hiccup certainly raises questions about these types of rules in youth sports. Allowing girls to play on boys' teams, but restricting them from being able to win seems to be counterproductive and sends a disparaging message to young girls about how society values their talents. 

This incident should prompt the organizers of this tournament, and others like it, to take a second look at their rule books. 

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Pixabay, sisuhalland

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