Matt Perl wants to play volleyball but he’s a boy and the rules say that’s enough to keep him off the roster.
Girls can play boys sports in high school but it doesn’t work the other way around. The Papillion-La Vista South student thinks that’s unfair.
Perl said, “I just love the feeling of hitting the ball or spiking it down - knowing that you got that point or that everyone is cheering for you. I love that feeling."
Perl has played competitive volleyball since he was a young boy. Now, as a high school freshman he says he’s getting a real-life lesson.
“I want to play but they just won't let me," he said.
That's because Matt's a boy and the rules that govern Nebraska schools don't allow for boys to play what are deemed "girl sports."
Matt’s mom, Ann Perl, said, "I'd like to see a change."
Ann is a former coach and she said she's always known this day would come. “I've told him since he was probably 3-years-old – ‘life's not fair.’”
But that hasn't made it easier to tell her son that because he's a boy he can't play. The school says there isn’t much that can be done.
Spokesperson Annette Eyman said, "We don't even really have an authority as a school district to do something other than what the guidelines are set."
That would come from a higher power - either the Nebraska School Activities Association or, one step further, the national association.
Ann Perl said, “I'd like to take it as far as I possibly can.”
The inevitable question is, why volleyball? For Matt it comes down to passion.
“I've played volleyball since I was 3-years-old,” he said. “I didn't play football. I bumped the ball around, I practiced. I constantly practice."
That dedication isn't going away but now he can't focus solely on bumping the ball. Now, there's a goal of changing the rules.
We contacted state officials to see if a change could be in the works to make it possible for Perl to play but we have not heard back after several days.