If you’re running a football team, there are plenty of good reasons for getting rid of your punter.
— Your punter fumbles every other snap from center.
— Your punter averages 10.2 yards per kick.
— Your punter averages 52.7 yards per kick … but it’s always in the wrong direction.
For a junior high football team in Georgia, the reason for getting rid of its punter recently was:
That, at least, was the explanation given for not allowing 12-year-old Madison Baxter to try out as a punter for her private school’s seventh-grade football team.
“I was told that the reasons behind it were one, that the boys were going to start lusting after her and have impure thoughts about her and that the locker-room talk was not appropriate to hear even though she had a separate locker room from the boys,” Madison’s mother told an Atlanta television station.
According to Casey Blythe, the CEO of Strong Rock Christian Academy, informed her he had prayed about the issue and even quoted the Bible in justifying his decision. To some people it may come as a surprise to learn there is scripture in the Bible concerning football, but that probably depends upon which version you own.
For Madison, who started playing football in the second grade, the ruling hit her like a crackback block.
“It was like my heart fell on the floor and the school stomped on it,” she wrote on “Let her play,” the Facebook page created in her defense.
But, based on the increasing number of girls playing football, impure thoughts may soon be a bigger concern to scholastic football coaches than concussions, torn ACLU or steroids.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, there are more than 1,500 girls playing football at American high schools. Which means that a lot of high school boys must be having thoughts they wouldn’t be having if there weren’t girls on their team.
To some parents — mostly female parents — the possibility that their 12-year-old sons could even have impure thoughts may be, well, unthinkable. The reality is, the average boy will have impure thoughts from the first time a Victoria’s Secret catalogue mysteriously winds up under his mattress until he reaches the age of, oh, 96 or 97.
So rather than tearing out a little girl’s heart, dropping it on the floor and stomping on it, perhaps we should direct our attention to the impure thinkers.
That’s how I handled it. When each of my sons started seventh-grade football I sat them down, looked them in the eye and instructed, “Don’t have impure thoughts.”