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3 Comments by Lisa W

Pilaro Family Vows To Keep Up Fight For Son To Play Field Hockey

My daughter, Tara, is a Senior, and one of several stand-out veteran members of the Southampton High School field hockey team and as a parent I have had the pleasure of watching Keeling play alongside his teammates on umpteen occasions. Field hockey is a team sport and to single out one player as being over-skilled does not merely diminish the roles played by the other team members, it downright acts as if they don’t exist. As in any team sport, the participants practice their plays over and over again, until quite literally, they can perform them in their sleep. Watching game after game for the past 6 years I have found that all the Varsity level teams against whom we have competed, have their 2 or 3 “go to” players when it comes time to score. My daughter plays defense and midfield, her job is to prevent goals or as a middie, to feed it to the front line. She has played her positions well, and has received awards each year including this year being named to the All LI 2nd Team – should she have been denied the opportunity to play because she was over-skilled at her position(s)? Would any female player be similarly denied? Would Keeling be allowed to play if he was a defender as opposed to a forward? Were the videos showing Keeling’s “superior stick play…” from games against lesser opponents, or of our more closely matched opponents? Because I didn’t just watch a few videos - I attended every single game - home and away - during the past 2 seasons, and I can tell you with great certainty that I witnessed more than just a few players who were at, or exceeded Keeling’s skill level.

The reality is that Keeling does not skew our team’s chances for winning - certainly not based on his sex or skill level. This would not be an issue if he were a 13 year old, under 5 foot, under 90 lb female. Keeling has in the past stated that he does not think he is the best forward on our team nor is he the worst – and even if he were the best, no similarly abled female players, in this very small school, were sidelined in order for him to play. All Varsity teams play to win and to that end they send their most proficient players to the field at game time. Keeling was 11th on the cited list – there are 10 players ahead of him. No one would dare to even suggest that these girls are too skilled to play.

Additionally, it does not appear that the committee has taken into account the context of Keeling’s membership on the SHS field hockey team. We are a small school numbering no more than 600 students. This year, the team is graduating 12 Seniors and there is concern that we may not be able to readily recoup those losses – to disallow even 1 player could prove detrimental to this program as a whole.

A recent article in Newsday leads me to believe that female players or their coaches/parents were upset that their player may have been passed over for a particular award given by the Suffolk County Field Hockey Coaches Association. If this is the case, and I hope I am wholly incorrect, then truly the issue should have been handled and addressed by the SCFHCA, the awarding agency – whose members, if I understand the process correctly, after each game pick who they believe were the outstanding players during that game. For Section XI to step in and deny Keeling the opportunity to compete with his teammates because he exhibits “advanced skills” shows that the organization is grasping at straws, trying to find a reason other than physical advantage to keep Keeling off the field.

Southampton High School is not attempting to field a team of male players – this is one boy, in one instance, in a very small school of approximately 600 children total. I urge the Director of Section XI to charge the committee with examining the real reasons for the decision, pay heed to the words of Keeling’s teammates past and present, rethink their decision and let him play – not only because it’s the right thing to do in this case, but because Title IX in order to protect everyone’s rights must be applied fairly both ways." May 2, 12 8:40 AM

Sorry Mets fan - I responded under my employers account in error - but yes, we have a strong team and made the playoffs the prior year without him.
" May 3, 12 9:48 AM

Southampton Boy Will Be Allowed To Play Field Hockey Next Season

Hooray! So happy that Section XI did the right thing : ) I look forward to watching you play next year!
" May 15, 12 2:55 PM