Girls Can Play Baseball

22 Aug

moneI grew up around boys: one older cousin, my brother and two younger cousins. Add to that my father and his five brothers and you have a girl surrounded by testosterone.

My brother, cousins and I would play the typical childhood games: tag, hide and go seek, etc. But mostly we spent our time in our grandparents’ basement wrestling. Let me rephrase: they spent most of their time in our grandparents’ basement wrestling. I was relegated to ring girl.

“Why can’t I wrestle?,” I would ask.

“Because you’re a girl,” one of the boys would reply

“But there are girl wrestlers.”

“We don’t have anyone to wrestle with you. Just sit over there and look cute.”

And sit I would—until I got bored and told an adult they wouldn’t let me play. The options were either I play or nobody plays. I like to think that’s the way Mo’ne Davis is looking at her competitors.

Mo’ne, the Little League World Series pitching phenomenon, has taken the country by storm with her tremendous athleticism. I can’t help but look with awe and admiration as she continues to kill the game.

Let’s run down the laurels: the first girl to pitch a shutout in Little League postseason history with a 70-mph fastball; the first girl to win a series game with her pitching prowess; and the first Little League player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. While the rest of the world is having a crappy August, Mo’ne is shutting stuff down—literally.

Mo’ne is an amazing pitcher, not just for a girl, but because she just is. And she knows it.

“I throw my curve ball like Clayton Kershaw and my fast ball like Mo’ne Davis,” she told a reporter.

To have that kind of confidence under all the media attention added on top of the pressure of leading your team through the Little League World Series is astounding. We could all take a page from Mo’ne as we continue our journeys toward a healthy lifestyle.

This 5-foot-4, 100-pound 13 year old has been playing sports practically forever. She’s not just an awesome pitcher, she plays basketball and soccer. She challenges herself to do more, even with continuing pressure mounting up. For baseball players under the age of 13, this is as big as it gets. And Mo’ne is ready for it.

We can all challenge ourselves to do more and try harder, even when it seems like we can’t. We can take comfort in the fact that if we fail, we at least tried. We can learn from the things that tripped us up so that we can continue doing better.

Mo’ne has had to deal with hecklers in the stands who wondered what a girl was doing on the baseball field. (She’s only the 4th American girl to play in the Little League World Series since the competition began in 1947.) But instead of allowing that negativity into her head, she focused on her game.

You can do the same. Do a mental vs. physical check. Understand the difference between what your mind is telling you vs. what your body is telling you. The challenge will be completely worth it.

Mo’ne has done some excellent work for herself, her team and the Little League. However, she won’t continue to play in the tournament as her team lost on Thursday night. But we all know this isn’t the end of her. Basketball season is still coming up!

photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

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