Sunday, June 19, 2011

Girls can play baseball

One of my all-time favorite movies is A League of Their Own. Sure, I like other baseball movies, but League stands out because it’s strictly a girls-baseball movie. We see so many boy-baseball movies, despite some kid movies having girls playing baseball (The Sandlot, for example). But League is definitely The Real Thing when it comes to girls baseball. In League, the women are asked to play baseball because there is a NEED for ballplayers while the men are away at war. However, in real life, this inclusion of girls in baseball has its problems.

Mainly, getting girls INTO baseball teams.

Even though baseball is dominated by boys/men, I have always felt that girls can play this sport, too. Coming from a large family, we often got together to play ball. And none of us girls were EVER told we couldn’t play because it’s a “boy sport.” Girls can play baseball, too!

This is a message I try to pass on to my daughter, Jennifer. She has been playing ball ever since she was old enough to start T-ball. Like me, she loves baseball, and we even play catch or hit the ball around in our yard.

However, sometimes, I have run into problems trying to get Jennifer onto a baseball team.
At Kidsports, where I sign Jen up to play, many staff have seen her gender as “girl” and, instead of placing her into the baseball team, as I requested, they moved her to softball instead. (I never learned of this until after I was notified by email of just how she was registered.) Of course, I’ve had to remedy this myself. Call them, email them, and explain to them that we prefer BASEBALL. Not softball. (Many thanks to Matt Brown for continuously helping me fix this problem when it has come up!)

Every year that Jennifer has played baseball, we’ve enjoyed the excitement, challenges and mystery of each game. She’d attend practices at the fields and we’d practice at home, too. Baseball was the sport we often talked about at home, and there has been a time or two Jennifer has come home from a game shivering or limping. But there’d be a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes when she’d inform me, “We won!”

Time and again she has proven that she can play baseball just fine. Of course, being in an all-boy team means she’s had to get used to all the “boy talk” and the ways boys behave – especially around girls. (Surprisingly, though, she and her teammates have gotten along well, and no one has accused the other of having cooties.) I’m proud of the progress she has made in this sport. If she chooses to pursue it again next year, that’s fine. If she chooses not to pursue it again next year, that’s fine, too.

We’ve had some good years playing baseball, as well as some pictures and happy memories to remember those years by.

I am grateful to all the coaches and team players for welcoming Jennifer into a sport that is mostly played by boys.

It’s good to know that other people out there agree that, yes, girls can play baseball, too.

No comments: