Should boys be allowed to play field hockey?
That's a question I hear each year about this time, although of late, it seems to be almost a trend to have boys on what has traditionally - in American high school and college play, anyway - been a girls game.
It's been 20 years since the first time I knew of a boy donning a kilt in his school colors, an oddity at the time. Boys have played on a number of teams since, with different levels of success.
Huntingdon, for example, had two young men on the team a few years ago, including the goalie. It didn't help - the Bearcats were no match for the more developed teams of the Tri-Valley League, and lost most of their games.
But I've also seen a few who have been a huge impact on their team's success - Ridge Bair at East Juniata, for instance, and Mifflinburg's Brad Catherman, who appears to be about 80 percent of his team's offense this fall.
I've also seen the argument against boys personified - they're bigger, stronger, faster at that age - when a young man suited up for Wilkes-Barre Meyers a couple years ago. Built more like a linebacker than a link, I pitied the poor girls who collided with what had to seem like a side of beef in the midfield to them.
We could well see a team laden with testosterone in November. The USA Today did an article about the growth in the number of boys on field hockey teams in the Keystone State, including five on the roster of Greensburg Central Catholic - perhaps the only way that school could field a team this year.
Those who favor boys in this particular girls sport note that there is no equivalent for boys, and that it's anything but a girls game on a worldwide basis - Bair, in fact, chose to continue his education in Vancouver, B.C., where a man was welcome on a college field hockey team.
The argument against is strong, too - largely, the possibility of injury, and the outright inequity it creates.
But you can't pick and choose - that is to say, you have to let all the boys play, or none. There's no way to limit access to those boys who are developing more closely with their female counterparts.
Although it's less of an issue, the opposite argument is whether girls should play boys sports. A few have tried football; others, wrestling - in fact, the daughter of one of my high school classmates is a world-class grappler in her gender, and has done rather well against boys in scholastic competition.
The difference is often how opponents accept a player of a different gender. Field hockey coaches often lament the presence of boys - sometimes even on their own team, as is the case this year at Wyoming Seminary, a powerful program in the northeast part of the state whose coach told USA Today she was against it, while having one on her roster.
Girls in traditional boys sports have it much harder, I'm sure. The first female wrestler knew at the high school level had a winning record, but mostly through forfeits - a number of coaches refused to allow their boys to wrestle her because it was contrary to their beliefs. Others, I surmise, were afraid she would win.
Boys or girls, I think the fairness issue - not to the athlete who wants to cross gender barriers, but to the athletes who have to deal with the fallout brought about by those who do.
Here's what I can tell you - it's not going to change, at least not without school boards making decisions that some people won't be happy with.
Jeff Fishbein is sports editor of The Sentinel. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.