As a former basketball player, I grew up on the playground and in the basketball gym. I played high school and college basketball, and I spent my off-seasons playing AAU traveling basketball throughout the country.
I was decent, and although I dreamed high for myself, I would never play in the NBA. I had teammates who did, however.
I will never forget the first tournament I played in as a 14-year-old. In fact, it was the first game on my new team. We were in an old sweat-box-like gym in St. Louis, and the goals were attached to the walls behind them. The rims were old. They didn’t break away when you dunked them, which is an important detail in a moment.
I was sitting on the bench during the opening tip, because all 5-starters were ACC/SEC Division 1 athletes, and honestly, I was doing great just to be in the line-up. As the referee threw the ball up for the tip, I quickly realized I was in another world. Our guy won the jump. One screen led to another, and my teammate caught an alley-oop dunk that was thrown from half-court. Remember the old goal attached to the wall? Yeah, well, it started moving back and forth like a dog frantically trying to shake off water. We had to wait 10-minutes until the goal stopped shaking to begin playing again.
Here’s the point: I have never seen a woman do this… because it doesn’t seem God made them that way.
THERE IS A GREAT BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN
Outside of a few soft-lay-up-type dunks from selected WNBA players, I have never seen a woman move, jump, and deliver with such force. Think Russell Westbrook.
As the transgender debate has found itself in the spotlight again this week, it has done so this time making headlines with the Olympic announcement that it will now accommodate transgender athletes. This is an announcement we all saw coming, and we all still shudder at hearing, no matter how prepared we tried to be for it.
The reality at hand here is far beyond a politically correct progressivism. I am not saying, first of all, that women are not athletic. They are. You should see my daughter play soccer, dance ballet, and do gymnastics. It’s pretty incredible. Some women are very athletic; some are not—just like men.
There is a difference, though, when we begin comparing the physiques and the strength of women with men. I am not a doctor, but I’m not sure I have to be to know that men and women are not the same, because they are not created the same way, or are made to do the same things (e.g., child birth and a 360-dunk with a basketball).
The mixed martial arts fighter, Tamikka Brents, who recently fought a transgender athlete, reminds us of this reality in an article in the Federalist. She states,
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor. I can only say I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female.”
The issue here is clear.
If transgender athletes begin competing with the sexes they “identify with” instead of who they are “biologically,” things will change. They are changing. They have changed.
THIS WILL HURT WOMEN’S SPORTS
As a dad, I grimace when I think about my beautiful, strong, and athletic daughter competing against men, and having her athletic dreams crushed by a stronger, more dominating transgender athlete.
I want to be clear here. This will not have the same effect on men’s sports. At almost all levels outside of peewee recreation league basketball—where boys and girls play together because developmental motor skills are roughly the same between sexes—this will be detrimental to women’s sports. Women’s sports will not recover from this.
It will not effect men’s sports. It will, however, change the landscape for my daughter, as she will potentially have to compete against stronger and more athletic transgender men.
SPORTS STILL REMIND US OF SOMETHING GREAT
Sports are still a beautiful thing, though. They teach us to be unselfish through the value of teamwork. They teach us that it is okay to lose, and that we should pick ourselves back up and keep moving forward. They teach us the value of hard work, how to submit to authority, and so much more.
But there is something also amazing about sports that transcend “lessons.” Sports remind us that we are made in the image and likeness of God. He created us. He made us. He designed us… perfectly.
He created us male and female. Genesis 1:27 says,
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
The sex of male and female are tied directly to God’s design and creation of humanity. He created us as female athletes, and as male athletes. What’s more, His Word teaches us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14), and that men and women are equal in dignity, value, and worth. He made some men athletic, and he made some women athletic, but at very different levels, and all for His glory.
But sports also remind us that we—men and women—indeed are different.
I can’t imagine sitting on the bench that day in that old sweat-box-like gym, and seeing a transgender athlete (a woman playing as man, that is) catch an alley-oop thrown from half court and dunking the basketball so hard that the rim literally almost falls off it’s hinges.
Why can’t I imagine that? Because, again, it doesn’t seem God made women this way.
Men and women are different. And that is a beautiful thing. Let’s not try to change it.
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