Keeling Pilaro is one of the best field hockey players in Southampton, N.Y. In fact he's one of the best in his division. He's s leading scorer and a true champ. And yet he isn't allowed to play on his high school team because he's too good.
Keeling is all of about 4 feet 8 inches and 82 pounds: hardly intimidating off the turf, but when he picks up a field hockey stick he's a star -- or at least he had been the last two years he's played on Southampton High School's varsity team. That is exactly why he's not allowed to play this year.
"I do hope they let me play," he said. "I really like these girls -- they are my family."
Keeling is the only boy playing on an all girls team. After two years Section 11, which oversees Suffolk County's high school sports, determined that as a boy, Keeling is such an impressive player, he is "having a significant adverse effect on some of his opposing female players... the rules state he would be allowed to play if he wasn't the dominant player."
He said he is not the best and is not dominating, but not the worst. He said some girls are faster and stronger and can beat him one on one beat me.
But section 11's executive director, Ed Cinelli, told Fox 5: "As a sport it's a girls sport. When a boy plays, it leads the way for other male players to come in and take over."
Keeling learned to play the sport in Ireland, where it is a men's sport, too. He, his parents, and his teammates are not taking the committee's decision lightly
Keeling's fight isn't over yet. He may have lost his bid and initial appeal but he is going back again for a final time May 15. If he wins that, he'll be allowed back on the field. If not, he may never play in this town again.