Saturday, March 25, 2006

Latina Students and High School Sports - Why are so Few Participating?

In my decade-long time as the girls' varsity soccer coach I have always had between five and eight players of hispanic heritage. However, despite my best efforts to recruit them, I am down to three, with two seniors having been on my team since freshmen year. Checking with other coaches in my and other schools the lack of Latina girls in sports appears to be a very disturbing trend. Sure, you can still find many Latina girls on some teams where the school is almost totally Hispanic. However, for the most part it appears that the percentage of Latina girls on a team is much lower than the school's population. What can be causing this problem? There are probably many reasons or combinations. I will try to pick out what I think are the problems, based upon my discussions with ESL, ELL, and other teachers.

1. Home Life: Many Latina girls are expected to do the chores that their mothers used to do. Cooking, cleaning, and supervizing younger family members. This may be due to an increasing lack of a father in many families making the mother the sole bread winner and the teenage girl then takes over the role of the mother.

2. Increasing ineligibility of their boyfriends to play soccer due to poor grades. Unlike many other cultures there appears to be a link between the Latina girl's decision to play/not to play soccer based upon their boyfriend's participation. Why are the Latina girls different? I asked that question to one of the Latina guidance officers. Her response was that Latina girls are very loyal to their boyfriends and won't play soccer if the boyfriend can't/won't. Again the increasing lack of a father in the household may be part of the reason on why boys are not doing well in school.

3. Finally, the attractiveness of many types of expensive items in a typical teenage girl's possesion (all cultures). Ipods, picture cell phones, and computers are all a necessity for the typical teenager and usually for a teenager to have these items they need a part-time job. This means that the opportunity to participate in after school activities are eliminated. Combined with the other two reasons, this reduces the students available for sports.

Are there any solutions to the dwindling participation of Latina girls in sports? More intact family structure. Aggressive recruiting at Freshmen orientation, and last, but not least, a targeted program to encourage all girls' to join after school activites by showing the girls the advantages of joining a team.

a. Better self-esteem
b. Working well with teammates
c. Have better quality friends
d. More respect from other students
e. Social bonding with team members

In conclusion, it will take a very aggressive effort if we are to stop and reverse the loss of Latina girls' in after-school activities.


no_slappz said...


You might have noticed that no posts of mine have appeared on the
Edwize site for a while.

Why? Because my IP address has been blocked by the nitwit who runs the site.

I cannot log on to Edwize and submit comments. I can only read the articles and their responses.

Chaz said...


I will never agree with you on vouchers and your feelings about the public schools. However, I do not consider you a serial teacher basher, just somebody who sees things differently, and I don't think it was fair what they have done to you.

no_slappz said...


AS I have said, I am a teacher in the NYC public school system. And I appreciate your view that Edwise is acting toward me in a dictatorial and censorial manner.

The actions of kombiz, which he was able to implement after the Edwize system was updated last month, are consistent with every bureaucratic monopoly.

In this case, the website, in its role as UFT media outlet, aims to stifle real debate within the UFT and present a unified voice to outside observers, such as John Stossel or the NY Post.

Attempts to control ideas presented on the website should leave no doubt that the UFT fears entrpreneurial and independent action in the world of education.

Like the central planning commission of the former Soviet Union, it wants to hold all the cards. And like the former Soviet Union, the DOE won't cut its own power.

Thus the union and the DOE are locked into an unwinnable battle. And in the end, the kids are shortchanged directly, and down the road, civil society is impaired.