I go back and forth, daily, considering what to post: hope and optimism; opportunity knocks; inspiration in all forms. Justice is sometimes lacking…
We want all to have an opportunity to develop, to grow, naturally or at least unimpeded through the careless or cruel acts of others: especially our girls because they have to compete, now, with boys, then, men, in a world that favors strength, cunning – even cutting corners and breaking rules to achieve goals, at all costs.
We teach our girls, allowing them to set examples, to not cut corners and break rules: we hold them to a higher standard to set a higher standard. Some are able to live up to this; others may doubt the reasons for the resolve.
Each girl who stands at the plate or shapes the rise against the pitcher’s rubber – and molds and lays a solid path for the stride – simply being there, at that moment poses honorably and generates pride in each present.
“When the girls win their first game, everything will change,” Mary Jo Stegeman warns each and every respectful official who provides an avenue, safe haven for all-girl Baseball teams, men, she encounters.
But, the fact is: it is the mothers on the opposing team, who love and support their boys and are stalwarts in preparing them for life, who are faced with the most stern dilemma in also supporting themselves: will they allow themselves to live vicariously through the 12, 13, 14 year-old girls they see so strong before them, in a given pose, in action, which, in many cases, they could only dream up for themselves, when faced with the exact, same choices, when they were girls themselves, which these girls provide, today? Or, as they, too, challenged society to embrace them, to support their sons and husbands in accepting change?
Oppression is a universal struggle. In Baseball, girls are oppressed! Let us just accept this, first, then, figure out how to challenge the oppressor, anticipating the savage nature of those who will not stop at anything to reduce their own fears of what they do not understand to subside.
Baseball provides a dignified forum to challenge this tendency, the urge to be un-civil, which the Chicago Pioneers, The Dream Team and the WBL Sparks continue to demonstrate so nobly.
In a few hours, The Dream Team wraps up the most recent opportunity to challenge some of the most talented, resource-rich, boys teams in the USA: they will continue to challenge them to consider how life will be with at least 50% more women in the board, operating rooms across the USA, the World, and potentially change the lives of the boys forever.
The boys who (not too) soon become men will inevitably accept that girls and women do not have to make the choices previous generations were compelled to: they can and will choose for themselves to live and have it all!
Also, in a few hours, the WBL Sparks will begin to face younger teams, less developed – maybe, less corrupted by prejudice, but no less competitive than the teams the Dream Team faces (beginning, almost, at the same hour, including the 3 hour time difference: they will be playing simultaneously for much of their first games on this Sunday, July 22, 2012: The Dream Team at 10:15 AM PST; The WBL Sparks at 1:45 PM EST.) On opposite sides of the country, 14U and 12U girls will challenge one oppressive idea with one of optimism, hope and shatter the false ides that girls submit to prejudice of any kind: they do not.
A number of the players on the Dream Team were members of the WBL Sparks only 2 years ago, where they allowed their inner strength to blossom; among the Dream Team, a 14 year-old girl, a Chicago Pioneer, has many of the same opportunities the boys she has faced, encouraged to lead among her male peers.
Shouldn’t the opportunity to lead on the field also be leveled for all girls – at the very least yell, with intention – whether on an all-girl or coed team, “BALL!, BALL!, BALL!”; “TWO OUT: PLAY’S AT FIRST!”?
Imagine if, instead, each of these boys’ teams were on a level playing field with the Pioneers, the Sparks the Dream Team: the most tenacious, determined who have rarely played on the same team in the same locale; have never heard of each other’s school; spent any time within the same peer group; having little to no opportunity to practice together, to get to know one another: to sit and eat pizza or a burrito or teriyaki – or a scoop of ice cream: to swim in the Long Stay swimming pool together, having cannonballs competitions, jumping into the deep end?
In my fantasy world of baseball where everyone gets together and rejoices in our young people and all they are so dear to us: after the girls have established they are the boys’ peers, the boys and girls play a game of pickup, two captains and two co-captains, each team, deciding among the players in front of them the starters for their own teams: 50/50 girls and boys – no coaches, no parents, just baseball.
Maybe, we can bypass the girls having to establish themselves, in the first place, and just let the girls and boys play…
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a [wo]man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, [s]he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. ― Robert F. Kennedy