DR. WALLACE: Do you think that high school athletic teams should have the best players on the squad, regardless of whether they are male or female? I'm writing a term paper on this subject and would like to include your opinion. Personally, I say yes to my question. — Sarah, Chicago, Ill.
SARAH: I'm a major fan of women's sports and proud of the progress female athletes have made in my lifetime, but I'm afraid you're not going to like my answer. Females should not participate on male teams, and vice versa.
However, by no means, does this mean that women are lesser athletes. Pound for pound and inch for inch, female athletes are equal to males — maybe even better. But one fact is inescapable. Men are generally taller and heavier than women. And in most sports, strength and size make the difference. They are extremely important to team success.
That's why I firmly believe the sexes should be separated in athletics. As good as the female college players are, not one would ever be good enough to compete in the National Basketball Association. The same is true for the National Football League or Major League Baseball.
I concede that, at the junior-high and even high school levels, a small percentage of girls are good enough to play on the boys' teams. However, I still don't think they should.
As harsh as that sounds, I say this for good reason. These highly talented girls are the best ambassadors, by far, for girls' sports programs. If the best talent is siphoned off to boys' teams, it would hinder the girls' teams.
As a former head basketball coach at three high schools, I firmly believe that all young people should have maximum opportunity to participate in athletics. Participation is far preferable to merely being a spectator.
This means that sports at all levels — not just boys' varsity sports — should be generously funded and supported by local school districts. Sadly, in years gone by, this was not the case. A mere generation ago, talented girls often had no sports outlets at all. We have inherited the legacy of this unfairness, but still have, I agree, some way to go before female athletes enjoy full equality with males. I just don't think the way to rectify this situation is through coed athletic competition, especially in the contact sports.
And, of course, this is just my controversial opinion. Many people are bound to disagree. But this is why I love to write a column for teens. I have my opinion, but I also respect yours.
YOUR BOYFRIEND MIGHT STILL BE WITH YOU
DR. WALLACE: You recently told a girl that one of the fastest ways to ruin a relationship was to engage in sex. Wrong! I'm 17 and last year by boyfriend and I were good friends, but once we started a loving sexual relationship, it made us as close as two people could ever be. It made us realize that we were in love, mentally, spiritually, as well as physically.
We are not going together right now because he decided to start dating an old girlfriend. Let's just say we are not "divorced," just "separated." I'm positive he'll come back to me. Still, our present separation doesn't take away the fabulous love we shared. As they say, "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." — Nameless, Monmouth, Ill.
NAMELESS: Did it ever occur to you that if you had never had a sexual encounter with your ex-boyfriend, he still might be with you?
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.