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Sorry Coach Chris Goodwin, the Real Issue is Bigotry, Not Basketball


Chris Goodwin is the girl’s basketball coach at Mid-Vermont Christian School in Hartford, Vermont. Mid-Vermont is an Evangelical institution.

In a February 2023 game, Mid-Vermont played a team with a transgender player. Rather than infect his players with transgender cooties, Goodwin forfeited the game.

When asked about why he forfeited the game, Goodwin said:

The team was not on our schedule during the year but we did see we might have the possibility of playing them in the playoffs,” he said. “As the season came to an end, that is the scenario that worked itself out. After discussions with our administration and players and parents, we decided that instead of going against our religious beliefs, … we decided to forfeit that game and withdraw from the tournament.

I’ve got four daughters. I’ve coached them all at one point in their careers playing high school basketball. I’ve also filled in for the boy’s coach when he can’t make a practice, and I run those practices, and boys just play at a different speed, a different force … than the girls play.

Goodwin also said that he was worried that one of his players could be hurt if they played against a biological boy.

Vicky Fogg, the head of Mid-Vermont, stated:

Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.

While Goodwin wants people to think that he forfeited the game out of concern for player safety, the real issue, as Goodwin himself stated, is the school’s beliefs about transgender people. In other words, the real issue is religiously motivated bigotry, not basketball. Having watched girl’s high school basketball since the 1980s, I can tell you that the girl’s game is every bit as physical and violent as the boy’s game. Yes, the boys can run faster and jump higher, but when considering physicality itself, the girls’ game is quite physical — especially when players hit the floor over a loose ball or when playing aggressive full-court man-to-man defense.

There’s an argument to be had about transgender girls/women in sports. Many transgender people agree. However, the place to have that discussion is not the gymnasium, right before the start of a game. Goodwin thoroughly embarrassed the transgender player and her teammates — was that his intent? — and robbed his own players of the opportunity of playing in a tournament game. Why? The Bible says ___________.

And people such as Goodwin wonder why an increasing number of people think Evangelicals are bigots.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    One of the outcomes of hunting down trans girls and evicting them from sports? Now any larger, taller, bigger high school girl is treated and harassed about being trans, even though they are not. WOMEN, all types of women, are getting discriminated against in these actions.

  2. Avatar
    John S.

    “There’s an argument to be had about transgender girls/women in sports. Many transgender people agree. However, the place to have that discussion is not the gymnasium, right before the start of a game.”. Yes! Amen- preach it Bruce!

    This is the appropriate way to resolve this issue. Not the “my way or the highway” approach. Not the way that destroys someone self esteem. I don’t know who the player was, or if they were proportionally bigger than the female players on the other team. My guess is no. The coach was just taking this opportunity to “evangelize”. And in doing so destroyed the self confidence of someone who already probably struggles with that. Play the game, have the discussion afterwards with the athletic governing body.

  3. Avatar

    I agree that this issue should have been handled privately, not in front of everyone.

    As a cis-gendered female athlete, I don’t have a problem with trans women participating in sports. I could talk about the research on trans women participating in sports, the psychological and physical benefits of participating in sports, and so on, but really, just train and be respectful to people.

    As a parent of a son and a daughter who both played sports, I can assure you that girls’ games are quite physical. Players are tough.

  4. Avatar
    Adam Thiry

    I am of the belief that gendered sports should be done away with. Don’t have a girls team or a boys team. Have one team. Let the best people make the cut. That way this nonsense of what team should a trans person play on goes away. The cream of the crop can compete. The rest can go away.

  5. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    I am an (old) transgender athlete. When I played high school soccer as a boy, I was of average size: Some girls were bigger and stronger (and tougher!) than I was.

    Goodwin handled the situation in the worst possible way. He not only embarrassed the trans player, he denied his players the opportunity to learn and make their own decisions. Coaches are, above all, teachers, whether or not they are affiliated with educational institutions. So, in that sense, Goodwin is guilty of dereliction of duty.

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