Women in sports: can it happen?

     Katie Hnida made history for women everywhere…until she actually walked out onto the field.
     Hnida is a place-kicker for the University of New Mexico football team and the first female in a NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I-A football game. She made her first appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA this past December. Her extra-point attempt was blocked by UCLA linebacker Brandon Chillar. The game was televised on ESPN in front of a national cable audience.
     This event has resurfaced an age-old debate. Should men and women compete at the same level?
     “I think we’re in the day and age when we’re breaking down the traditional stereotypes,” said Andreas Wolf, Skyline College athletic director and dean of the physical education division. “I think some sports are better at mixing genders.”
     Skyline College Women’s Badminton Head Coach Jan Fosberg expresses a similar point of view.
     “Men usually have two-thirds more muscle mass than women,” Fosberg said. “Most sports are strength-based.
     Hnida flopped in her attempt to make history. But that was football. In May, LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) golfer Annika Sorenstam will play in the Colonial, a PGA (Professional Golf Association) tour event. Sorenstam will not be the first female to play on a PGA tour event, but she is the best female golfer in the world and definitely has a good shot to keep up with her male counterparts.
     “I think she’ll do well,” Fosberg said. “I think she’ll make the cut.”
     But Sorenstam is an exception since she’s on top of the women’s tour. So is that what women need in order to compete with men; master the women’s tour/league first? According to Skyline badminton player Sonanh Dinh, it’s the men who should watch out.
     “It shows that women can compete at that same level,” Dinh said, Skyline badminton number 2 seed. “Women are everywhere now. We’re more than equal.”
     When the day comes when men and women reach gender equality, the debate will still rage on whether women belong there. But, for now, women are not at the same level as men. So how do they reach that level? By competing against men.