The Sandlot: Remixed

“You play ball like  girl!”

I thought to myself, I play like a girl because, well I am a girl. Is that really such a bad thing? Female athletes have been making a good comeback when it comes to popularity of favorite athletes for people but yet, people still use females as being one of the biggest insults a male athlete could get.

I have played softball my entire life and it has always bothered me that softball was drastically different from baseball; “a man’s sport.” I never understood why they were different, I just shut my mouth and followed the path that society has selected for me. Do not get me wrong, I love softball it is just I do not understand why it was really invented. Why couldn’t girls just tryout for baseball? Then looking more closely, it was not just the name that was different.

In an article that I have read, softball was mainly created to help baseball players practice in the winter time; referred to as indoor baseball. Not once have they thought of including women in the equation.

Ian, from The Straight Dope Science Advisory Board explained, “Then, why must softball pitchers throw underhand? Because historically softball pitchers weren’t supposed to throw fast. Softball was created as a way for ball players to play indoors in the winter, and was necessarily slower paced than baseball, with more fielders, a smaller field, and a bigger ball.” 

One of my all-time favorite movie when I was a kid had to have been The Sandlot. It was a movie about a group of boys that were obsessed with baseball. If you have seen the movie then you would have noticed that there were no girls included. “Smalls” was a new kid who had no apparent talent for playing baseball. When the other kids saw how he played, they thought he threw like a girl and played like a girl. A young boy, just trying to seek acceptance with the other kids, “played like a girl.” I do not know how many times they actually reference a boy playing like a girl, but everyone remembers that movie because of that one line! I found this article and it was a rendition of the movie as if  one of the new kids in town was a girl.

“Hey soda bottle! Girls CAN NOT play baseball! It’s just not done!” Ham shouted receiving laughs of agreements. She would later hit a deep home run to shut all the boys up and stun them.

I think watching that movie helped spark  my love for the game. Seeing how women can be a positive factor in the game and noticing that we, as women have the power to surprise people is what I yearn for. Knowing that people think you can not do something gives you all the more reason to do it. In the end that feeling of accomplishment and knowing you shocked everyone is probably the best reward a female athlete can have (other than winning of course!).

Let’s redirect our focus back to the major differences between baseball and softball and notice that softball only includes seven innings, whereas baseball has nine. Almost everything about the games were different; the type of bats used, the size of the ball, tie-breakers, run rules, leads, size of the fields and just overall looks of the game. Even professional athlete’s salaries between the sports added up differently.

“Ultimately, the sports are similar, but there are very obvious differences beyond just the gender of the players.”

This just goes to show you how enveloped society is when it comes to MEN’S SPORTS!

Men look like a God if they are seen striking out girls left and right but if a women strikes out a guy, all hell breaks loose! Guys can be made fun of or laughed at if they can not hit off a girl pitcher because they are looked at as unbeatable or unstoppable; they can hit anything. But when it comes down to it, it is pretty hard trying to hit a baseball when you are used to a softball pitch and vice versa. Baseball pitchers pitch at a downward angle whereas a softball pitcher pitches more of a direct or upward angle pitch. Men and women should not be ridiculed just because they did not hit a ball from an opposing sport pitch. Baseball players can make the argument that there is more movement on the ball when the pitch is released as opposed to only the slight movement in a softball pitch.

“Since the baseball mound is 60 ft away, compared to 43 ft away for softball players, there is more time for the baseball to move.”

I just find it ironic that baseball players can argue that they have to adjust to more movements on the pitch but yet, softball was created by a man! George Hancock created the game so baseball players can practice in the winter time. Women had no say in the matter, all the rules and such were created just to help men practice, so when women came into the picture, everything was already set up for them. Women were lucky and privileged to have finally been included into a slow-pitch sport; how thoughtful of the guys to think of us!

Here we are trying to promote equality within genders and yet, we could not be more segregated. Women may have chances to play sports, but yet there are all these rules, regulations and guidelines we must follow that are not even mentioned for men’s sports. Should we be grateful just to have a chance to play a sport? Are we considered to be selfish if what we want is more than what we are offered? When will the line dividing these gender sports be erased?

Can we ever be truly equal to one another?

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