New athletic dress code creates equity

Jonas Evans, staff writer

In almost any photo of a cross country practice, there are boys who have no fear of  showing skin. That image, however, will not be seen around the Glenbrook South sports complex after an Athletic Department rule change this year that states all South athletes practicing on the school’s campus must wear shirts while practicing.

Athletic Director Steven Rockrohr originally created a rule for the girls’ athletics late last year stating that girls had to wear shirts to all sports practices. The new rule change that stated boys had to also keep shirts on during practices began this year, in order to be fair to female athletes.

“One word: equity,” Rockrohr said. “Girls aren’t allowed to take their shirts off. A couple of them complained [about the lack of equality] last spring, so [the change] made sense to me.”

Rockrohr said the new rule was an easy one to decide to implement and thought it was important to make sure every athlete is treated equally.

“I didn’t think it would be an earth-shattering decision,” Rockrohr said. “There’s not a lot of deep divide here. It made sense to me to treat the boys the same way we treat the girls.”

Sam Westfall, a senior co-captain of the cross country team, understood the basis behind Rockrohr’s rule, but found that it was unfair to every party involved. He doesn’t feel the orginal rule made for the girls was necessary.

“I see where [Rockrohr] is coming from,” Westfall said. “If girls can’t wear  sports bras on the track, we should have to wear shirts like they do, but I don’t think girls wearing sports bras on the track was causing anybody problems in the first place.”

Kurt Hasenstein, cross country head coach, agreed that there are significant difficulties the runners will have to face because of the new rule, but he understands why the change was made. Hasenstein, who has been working at Glenbrook South for more than 25 years, pointed out how the rule was not unique to Glenview.

“We are not the first school [to make the rule],” Hasenstein said. “For any rule change, it’s annoying the first year, and then kids come in after and don’t even know that it wasn’t a rule. You have get through the initial change and move on.”

Senior Lauren White has been dancing onPoms for four years. She understood why this rule change might be annoying to the cross country team, but holds fairness as most important. She found it frustrating before the new rule came out, because her team would get yelled at for not wearing shirts, while the track team worked out without shirts.

“It would be a lot nicer, especially if you’re running outside, to not have to wear a shirt,” White said. “But, it also is a school sport so I understand why. I definitely think it has to be one way for both [gender athletics].”

Senior Danny O’Brien, who has been a part of the cross country team for four years, has had to adapt to conditions different from any of their previous years. A complaint of O’Brien’s was that during the hotter months people cannot remove their shirts in order to stay cool when running.

“It was hard, especially in the summer because it’s 90 degrees and we’re running,” O’Brien said.  “If you brought a cotton shirt to school, that’s what you’ve got to run in.”

Rockrohr thought the goal of equality for all athletes outweighed the inconvenience of the heat.

“Obviously, I’d like them to be as comfortable as they possibly can in all situations,” Rockrohr said. “But, this [rule] isn’t something I deem as overly oppressive.”