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Wednesday
Aug272014

New York Sophomore Breaks Gender Barrier As First Male To Play Women's Varsity Lacrosse

Jeremy Lankin Has Stolen The Hearts Of Lacrosse Fans Throughout New York With His Brave Assault On Gender Inequity

By TRAVIS MOORE

Published August 27, 2014

 

Jeremy Lankin has gone where no man had gone before, and in the process yet another gender barrier has been broken. The 16-year-old sophomore is the first male high school lacrosse player to compete on a female varsity squad. In just 11 games Lankin has scored 66 points, a pace that would set a Elmont High School season scoring record.  Elmont is a public high school in the leafy, upper-middle class New York suburb of Bridgehampton, New York.

At first I was worried that the female game, which is more a precision game, would be too difficult a transition,” said Lankin. “My teammates have been great and very supportive in teaching me the finer points.”

Lankin's smashing success breaking the gender barrier is all the more impressive because he almost gave the sport up after getting cut from the male junior varsity squad. “After getting cut, I took a hard look at where I was and what I am about,” he said. “I knew there were a few things that I needed to work on, and taking up the challenge of breaking gender stereotypes gave me all the motivation I needed,” he said.

Lankin's father, Michael Lankin, said his son has never been a quitter. “Jeremy just never gives up, and that makes us very proud of him,” he said. “When Jeremy told us he wanted to try out for the women's varsity team after being cut, I told him he was setting himself up for disappointment but he wouldn't listen to me.”

Lankin's coach, Henry Bibb, said that he initially discouraged Lankin, but is now a convert. “Call me sexist, but I was skeptical that Jeremy could play the woman's game,” he said. “To compete with these girls tales a level of wileness that doesn't exist in the men's game.”

Jeremy just never gives up, and that makes us very proud of him.”

Team captain Tabatha Riley believes that Lankin has been the biggest factor in turning the teams losing record last season to a 9 and 2 start this season. “Jeremy shows so much drive and passion for the game,” said Riley. “He can take down just about anyone, and has transitioned better than anyone thought he possibly could.” Riley credited Lankin for his lanky frame and speed. “He takes the best from the male game and blends it with what we do best in the women's game.”

For inspiration, Lankin has tapped into an unlikely source: NASCAR and Indycar racer Danica Patrick.  “I was never a racing fan, but since I have joined the women's squad I have become a huge fan for what she has done to break gender barriers,” he said.

If anyone believed that gender differences would divide the team in the lockerroom, they have been proven wrong.  As a matter of team cohesion, Lankin has insisted on changing and showering with his teamates.  “If I asked for special treatment like having my own locker room that would only create divisions in the team along genders lines, and just the thought of that deeply offends me,” he said.

Will any other Jeremy Lankin's try to make the leap to women's lacrosse? It doesn't seem likely given the stark differences in the women's game.  But no matter what, Lankin's miraculous start of the season in this Long Island town has people talking.   More importantly, it is another blow against the pernicious evils of gender discrimination.