Saturday, February 11, 2017

Baseball and Gender Issues

Yesterday, K got an invitation to an all-expense paid trip to a baseball tournament: flights, rooms, meals, registration, uniform, tickets to a Major League game, and other incidentals all included.  Oh my gosh!  The offer had me at "all expense paid trip;" add baseball to someone with her passion for that game and one would think it would be a no-brainer.  But... the tournament is only for girls and she refuses to play if tournament rules engage in gender discrimination.*

As I've noted before, there are all-boys tournaments and leagues, including some who have blatant "no girls" policies.  In fact, there are ways that even the overtly inclusive Little League groups could do more to promote true inclusion.  The reality of even partially discriminatory situations has meant that similarly situated boys on her Little League teams have more opportunities to play ball throughout the year than she does, which poses a disadvantage every year as she sits out for months while some of her teammates and competitors hone new skills.  She knows that is wrong, but maintains that all-girls' tournaments are equally wrong.  I respect her uncompromising ethics, but...

I do love watching her play.  I worry sometimes that without some of the advantages of playing in the leagues that exclude girls, it will be more challenging for her to be competitive in what will likely be otherwise all-boys divisions as she gets older.  It doesn't help that most of the players have parents who can help them practice while she's got two baseball-disabled parents (one who has physical limitations due to the stroke and one who is disabled by a fear of hard fast things flying at my face**). So I threw major bribes into the deal.  No go:  the girl is unyielding, intransigent, resolute, obstinate, and adamant. Erg! 

 * She turned down a similar opportunity earlier this spring - a chance for four months of coaching, a flight, hotels, a tournament, uniform, etc., all for a negligible price.  Ugh!

* Also, for the record, I found out that this tournament would allow boys, though as far as I have seen none have signed up.  That didn't convince her, as clearly their intent is to promote girls in the sport.  Their mission is one of inclusivity, but the current composition of baseball drives that's tournament's (admirable) focus on encouraging girls.

** My fear of fast, flying objects was enhanced this week when another baseball mom told me that she got a concussion when trying to play with her son.  As I told her, K started batting so hard and so well so early that by age three, I knew that we were in danger of window breakage if I kept playing with her on our porch and had to limit my pitching to our trips to the park...  I did try again recently, but really, I'm hopeless, even with the best intentions.  Makes me all the more impressed with her, though!


Anonymous said...

Not true!!! The leagues they do as far as I know allow girls, just because you don't sign up your kid doesn't mean your kid is not allowed.

Charles, Therese, and Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles, Therese, and Family said...

Ah, but I did sign her up, as soon as the registration period opened. They cashed my check and then, months later, right before the season started, told me that "no girls are allowed in boy's sports." I dug up the rules for the league and indeed, they state, "no girls shall play on boys teams." I wrote to them respectfully asking to discuss this (thinking that maybe the rule is antiquated and current leaders would be open to discussing change?) but got no response. Instead I got a refund.... They couldn't have been more clear. No girls allowed.