"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Fear and Faith in Phoenix


Charlie Pierce lowers the boom:

One thing is certain. Paige Sultzbach and her teammates deserved a chance to play for the championship. They were the only undefeated team in their league, and they’d already beaten Our Lady of Sorrows twice this season. They’d worked hard enough, and played well enough, to be allowed to win their championship on the field, and not have it handed to them because somebody hiding in a chapel somewhere decided not to give them the satisfaction. For all the theological dust they’ve thrown up to cover their cowardly retreat, Our Lady of Sorrows plainly and simply didn’t want to lose to a girl.

This is an embarrassment to sport and to religion, the functional equivalent of bleeding statues and the face of Jesus on the side of the barn. This is the kind of thing of which Blessed John XXIII was trying to rid the Catholic Church when he called on the council to “throw open the windows” and release the stifling air of repression that had built up over the centuries. Our Lady of Sorrows doesn’t want to play baseball against Paige Sultzbach because it’s run by an organization that harbors an attitude toward women that differs very little from that of Bishop Williamson, its crackpot avatar. And, no, I don’t have to “respect” the stand they took, or the beliefs that prompted it, unless I’m also prepared to “respect” the anti-Semitism and conspiracy-mongering that are at the heart of the beliefs in question. I’m not required to be as classy as Paige Sultzbach, state champion.

[Photo Credit: Carlos Chavez/Arizona Republic]


1 Jon DeRosa   ~  May 15, 2012 12:47 pm

Kudos to her for refusing to sit out that final game.

2 Chris in Sydney   ~  May 15, 2012 12:48 pm

This isn't an embarrassment to sport. This has nothing to do with sport - it could have been literally anything (e.g., the priesthood). This is 100% about religion.

I'm with Charlie. It's time for all sane people to stand up and start saying what we all know: This is bullshit. It's morally wrong. And it doesn't make you look any less hateful or crazy just because a little voice in your head or some asexual church figure told you it was OK. Discrimination and hate justified by "faith" is still just discrimination and hate.

3 Jon DeRosa   ~  May 15, 2012 12:59 pm

I wonder what level of play we're talking about here where a team comprised of cult members can advance to state championship, and find themselves facing a team they already lost to TWICE?

Something tells me this was not your garden variety "state championship."

4 Jon DeRosa   ~  May 15, 2012 1:03 pm
5 RIYank   ~  May 15, 2012 1:31 pm

Yep, good for Charlie, as usual.

6 Dimelo   ~  May 15, 2012 1:39 pm

[2] Exactly. It's time for the religious folks to stop hiding behind their bible as justification for their separatist ways.

The bible also doesn't have a problem with slavery, but we've evolved (yeah, they hate that word too) enough to know that it's not an acceptable practice.

7 Chyll Will   ~  May 15, 2012 2:21 pm

Does this "school" receive taxpayer funding? If so, why? I mean really, why?

8 joejoejoe   ~  May 15, 2012 5:00 pm

[3] An NCAA conference basketball tournament final?

This was a great piece by Pierce. I'm happy to have found it and I'll be checking out the Garry Wills books on Jesus and religion that he mentioned. I loved Wills' "Lincoln At Gettysburg", where he touched on similar themes as they related to Lincoln using the Bible in his speeches.

9 Bruce Markusen   ~  May 15, 2012 6:15 pm

The school is run by the Society of St. Pius, which broke from the Catholic Church in 1970. So let's not say that this is a Catholic school. I'm a practicing Catholic--and proud of it--and I have never heard anything at a Sunday service that approximates what this school did. Refusing to play another school because there is a girl on the team is NOT a Catholic principle.

10 Chris in Sydney   ~  May 16, 2012 2:49 pm

[9] But discrimination against women is an official church position. For example, they cannot serve in the church hierarchy. So let's not pretend like this is a big stretch from Catholicism.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver