Surviving Skirts in Sports

By Grace Wood, Copy Editor

The ball skyrockets across the field as girls jet off to retrieve it. Sandy Flores (12) thinks she’s almost there, but wait, she has to adjust her skirt.

Tennis, lacrosse, and field hockey are the only outdoor high school sports that still require girls to wear skirts. Lacrosse is a Native American sport that was adopted by Europeans in the 1630s after the French spotted the sport in St. Lawrence Valley. It is unclear when women started playing, but they have always been photographed played in skirts or kilts. In 2008, Northwestern University Girls Lacrosse Team broke the mold and began to wear shorts.

Tennis grew popular in the 1900s in Victorian England. Women, just like in their daily lives, wore knee length skirts and long sleeved tops. White clothing became a symbol of the rich, much like the sport itself. In 1890, Wimbledon mandated all-white uniforms. Now, all players are allowed to wear shorts as long as they are white.

The origins of field hockey can be traced to ancient Egypt, Persia, and Greece, but the current form of the sport was developed in the British Isles in the late 19th century. In 1901, Englishwoman, Constance M.K. Applebee brought field hockey to the United States and brought skirts with her.

Across all teams, girls are divided over shorts vs skirts.

“Going from wearing shorts in basketball to a skirt [in lacrosse] was difficult at first,” says Sierra Kennard (12). “It’s very short.”

However, other girls find the skirt to be a refreshing change from their day-to-day apparel.  “We wear shorts everyday,” says lacrosse player Tessa Biver (12). “The skirt is new.”

Field hockey and lacrosse teams are required to wear something underneath their skirts. Some players complain about the extra materials they have to bring. “There’s always at least one girl who forgets her spandex,” says field hockey player Sophie Lebegern (12), “and that’s a crisis.”

Other girls don’t understand the logic of playing in a skirt. “The higher quality the sport, the less it makes sense to wear skirts,” says tennis player Rebecca Whitten (12).

But all agree on one common problem with the skirt. “I’m cautious about adjusting it,” says lacrosse player Maggie Moonis (9). “Until I realize the other 20 girls are doing the same thing.