Sunday, March 15, 2009

"You throw like a girl!"

When I was around 12 or 13, I tried out for Little League. Everyone told me to try out for softball, and one of my friend's parents ran the softball league, but I hate softball. My hands are too small for the ball. But I digress...

I didn't make the Little League team - thinking back, I'm not sure if any 'girls' did - and was placed on the farm team instead. As the only female bodied person on the team, because of my age, I was a little taller than the rest of the team. I would keep my shoulder length hair tucked under my hat to avoid standing out.

One day during practice, we were throwing the ball back and forth. The father of the boy I was partnered with was in the stands "encouraging" him. I'm sure that's what he thought he was doing. I remember some of the things he said to my partner, "What was that?", "Who taught you how to throw??"

"You throw like a girl!"

I caught the ball, and stopped. Reaching up I took off my hat, and dropped it on the grass next to me, and resumed practicing.

The guy was quiet the rest of the practice.


At the end of the season, we had a big picnic. We'd topped the farm league that year, so each of us got a trophy. I remember going up to the table, and seeing all the little baseball player trophies lined up in neat little rows. I eagerly searched for my name, and to my horror, I found mine. In the neat little rows of baseball player after baseball player, helmets on and bats poised high and waiting, was a figure about a half inch taller than the others, with a more upright stance and a ponytail.

They had put a softball player on my trophy, because the figure was a girl.

I don't think there were words at the time to describe how angry I was. I'm NOT a softball player! I'm a baseball player! I wanted to be just like everyone else on the team, I didn't want to be singled out or made different. Why couldn't they just let me blend in with the rest of the boys?

I'm sure they thought at the time they were doing the "right thing". As they say, however, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and all they succeeded in doing is reminding me just how different from everyone else I really was. All it lead to was me forcing myself into the role of "GIRL" they had laid before me, forgoing my love of baseball and BMX an squeezing myself into a prison of skirts, sweaters and false enthusiasm: Cheerleading.

Yes, there are pictures.

No, you can't see them.

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As always, be respectful of your fellow human beings.