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The Current

The Current

Editorial: Bruins tackling gender stereotypes

Sophomore Shelbi Beghetti, left, and Missy Parker, a senior, play on the JV & Varsity football teams. Photo by Alyssa Rice

The Bear River Bruins have gained massive yardage with two new female additions to both the Varsity and Junior Varsity football teams. We at The Current applaud these players and feel their presence in a male-dominated sport is a positive example for all our athletic programs.

The 2016 Bruin Nation has welcomed offensive lineman, strong tackle, Shelbi Beghetti, a sophomore, and offensive lineman, right guard, Melissa (Missy) Parker, a senior, into the football family.

“Once I had my head set on actually playing, I didn’t really care what other people said. I know that girls playing football isn’t the norm, so I knew people would have very different opinions on my decision,” Beghetti said.

As a starter on the JV team, Beghetti speaks with a fervor that reveals her true love for the game.

“I love this sport, so why am I not playing it? Really. There was nothing really holding me back.”

Beghetti’s head coach, Tanner Mathias, addressed the concerns that he initially had when he heard that there would be a female addition to the team.

“Honestly, I was worried about her when I first found out,” Mathias said. “I looked at it more from a physicality standpoint. I was scared she was going to get hit and be discouraged and I would have to make players hold back when going against her. But boy, was I wrong!”

Mathias commented on how her gender doesn’t affect the team. He said she works just as hard as any of the boys and it shows in her performance.

“Once she hits the field she is as much a Bruin as the other players on her team, the players on the 2014 Section Championship team, the players on my team when I played here, or the players on Coach Baggett’s or Coach Kerr’s team when they played in the 80’s and 90’s.”

Parker, a senior on the Varsity football team, also has a love for football and didn’t let gender roles get in her way of the sport either. When asked what being on the football team meant to her, Parker said, “I think it has to do with being happy with the sport you play and how you play it.”

This is not Parker’s first year playing high school football.

“I played sophomore year at Nevada Union,” Parker told The Current.

“We’ve never had a girl that’s hung in there and made it through until season,” said Varsity head coach, Scott Savoie, in an interview. “Melissa has hung in there, and she’s earned her right to be out on the field on Friday Nights.”

When asked what he thought of having a girl on the team, Savoie was unphased.

“For us coaches, whether they’re a boy or a girl doesn’t matter to us. They still need to be at practice, no one gets special treatment, she will be treated the same as any of the boys.”

Of course, the boys on the team had their concerns, initially. Bryn Tyler, a senior and defensive end on the Varsity football team was honest. “We were pretty concerned about her safety, physically,” but the girls have shown both teams that they can hold their own, he said.

When it comes to the topic of co-ed high school sports, Athletic Director Duwaine Ganskie shared his point of view.

“The question is always: is there a sport that is offered for both boys and girls? From my standpoint, we don’t offer girls’ football, so girls are allowed to play on the boys’ team.”

The athletic staff at Bear River seem to have a very positive attitude about co-ed football and stand in full support of Beghetti and Parker. Coach Savoie was no exception: “I know that there are girls out there that can do what guys do.”

The Bear River football program is certainly proving that statement to be fact.

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Editorial: Bruins tackling gender stereotypes