June 17, 2009: No girls allowed on baseball diamond

in

To The Editor:
We showed up for practice/try-outs and my two daughters were told immediately that the game was dangerous and that while standing in the batter’s box that they could get hit by that hard ball. One of my girls said, “That’s O.K., I’ve been hit by hard things before.” I added that whether male or female, one could get hit by the ball. I don’t see what gender has to do with it. I insisted that my two daughters, one 12 and the other about to be 11, get out there and warm up for the try outs. I even joked, “Someone has to sit on the bench…” I was touched to see that one of the coaches took an interest in teaching my youngest how to throw.
Within 15 minutes, she learned the basics and improved 100 percent. As a single mom, I can’t cover all the bases, so to speak. Baseball is certainly not my strength and I was hoping that my girls could learn from those more experienced than I.
And so the games began. I watched from the sidelines, hoping not to be an obnoxious parent advising my children at every turn. However, I was engaged. I noticed every throw, catch, hit and error. Plenty of errors too on the part of both the boys and the girls.
The try-outs were divided into throwing and hitting. The girls clearly did not throw as fast as the boys, but I would not say that they were less accurate. On occasion the boys’ fastballs flew over the first baseman’s head while the girls’ balls arrived a little slower – still making the out.
In regard to hitting, however, it was a whole different story. Drama played a big role with the boys. Even though they missed the ball, they would pose in such a way as to make their task heroic. And the girls, when they missed the ball, would crumble as if to say…in the lexicon of typical insecure prepubescent females….”I stink.” I’ve been hearing this lately from my adolescent girls with much dismay. I contend that it is a device to get boys for all the wrong reasons. And, it’s a terrible sell for someone trying to make the cut on the local baseball team.
When all was said and done, my girls got cut. Am I being too protective of my daughters? Perhaps so. However, in this small county in which we live, why is it that our girls must sit out in the summer when they should be learning new skills, exercising, and becoming part of the power infrastructure that will test them for the rest of their lives. It’s not really about baseball, let’s face it. It’s about that team spirit that infiltrates our corporations, our government and work force. My daughters learned that they were not eligible before they even tried out. When are we going to see that this is how our society works and it is a game taught and learned when we are very young?

Allison Bennett,
Fleischmanns