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10 April 2014

Why Girls Today Need A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)

no crying in baseballI am going to give you all, beloved readers, a slice of the life of a starving writer. I was lying in bed last night thinking of all the ways I had failed in life - failed at relationships, jobs, writing, you name it. I was racking my brain for a single thing in my life I had ever done well. Do you know what came to mind? A catch. A really sweet catch.

In the words of Sophia Petrillo, "Picture it. Northern Virginia, mid-1990s." An eight-year-old Margaret Perry was playing first base in a Chantilly Youth Association softball game. I couldn't tell you the score if I wanted to, but at some point the batter hit a solid line drive my way. Without batting an eye I reached across and caught the ball with a backhand. Out! It was an awesome catch and everybody on that field knew it.

So, here I am - a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in a world that does not celebrate history/English lit. liberal arts graduates. And the one moment of personal glory I can claim without hesitation is an epic catch I made on the softball field over a decade ago. As I write this, I am remembering a dozen or so other examples of great plays I made on that field. Like that sweet grounder I hit into left field, right past the short stop. Or that time I got a huge strawberry sliding into third. Or the time I lobbed it from third to first, making an amazing double play.

Baseball teaches youngsters a plethera of lessons. Baseball  teaches kids how to work together as a team. It teaches how hard work leads to success. Success in baseball is always based on merit, and the rewards are immediate. A good play gets cheers from teamates, the coaches, your parents, everyone in the stands. Baseball crosses socio-economic class boundaries - kids playing stickball on the backstreets of the inner city get just as much thrill out of a home run as any major-league hitter.

Little League

There are dozens of movies about boys' baseball, from THE SANDLOT (1993) to THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES (1942) to MONEYBALL (2011), but precious few about women. There are some really great films about girls in sports, generally, my personal favorites being PAT AND MIKE (1952) starring Katharine Hepburn, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (2002), and BLUE CRUSH (2002). If you want to also include horse movies, you can add NATIONAL VELVET (1944) and WILD HEARTS CAN'T BE BROKEN (1991). But no other sport has so much of a gender lockdown than American baseball. READ MORE...

1 comment:

  1. I've been feeling down in the dumps lately too - it's not fun, I know your pain. This post cheered me up, though, because in it you mentioned some of my favourite sports films: A League Of Their Own, The Sandlot, Bend It Like Beckham, and The Pride Of the Yankees. Oh man, I think I need to go watch them now, one by one.


Can't wait to hear your thoughts!