I’m not endorsing any organization or policy that excludes ANYONE from playing and enjoying Baseball within their own community – whether that community is San Francisco or Earth. And, most important: it is up to you if you are going to challenge prejudice and the wall of resistance to a girl playing hardball Baseball. If you run into it you need to reach out to find resources that can help support you in getting onto a team and getting the opportunity to play like all of the other players. In Little League they have to bat you in the line up until you reach the Majors.
Actually, I was corresponding with John Kovach, a very successful girl’s Softball and Baseball coach from Indiana, who has designed a logo for a t-shirt. He plans on making it available soon. It points out that a girl’s only obstacle to playing Baseball in Little League is the smokescreen of Softball and the diversion from Baseball by local league officials from the Baseball sign-up.
But, as I was watching the Little League World Series (I missed the final International game as it was rained out on Sunday – missed the broadcast as it was during family dinner time on Monday, Pacific Standard time,) and the games leading up to it, I noticed a very distinct and similar kind of play among the teams: one of grace and balance, one that was not forced and required both aggression and tact.
Have I seen it before, in our local Little League games? Sorta – as a coach and as an assistant coach, I have experienced some of it, but: the teams that play in the ultimate tournaments across the World, the ones that reach this level of play are harmonized in a way that clearly defines certain principles – in action, in time.
By contrast, I was lucky enough to catch some of the Cal Ripken World Series on a cable TV channel much higher up on the dial. After our family’s experience two summers ago we have some perspective of the clear differences between these two organizations and their philosophies and developmental approaches.
Our son’s Little League coaches took a team, assembled from the best, available Little League Rookie players, to Concord, California, to play in a Junior Optimists’s tournament, hosted by the Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Baseball organizations.
Without getting too much into the details, right now (I think a separate article on a deeper, technical level is in order in the “How…” section of this site,) let’s just say that NOT running the bases is NOT and option in the Cal Ripken league: it is a tactic to steal on each pitch thrown: despite the lack of control and power of a given catcher to throw the runner out. Truly a trial by fire, or. giving the coaches of tournament-ready teams credit: the players who see clearly what the goal is in winning will work harder to develop their skills. Harder than what, you may be asking…?
In communities other than San Francisco, which has a Little League intentionally set up to prevent teams from staying together from T-Ball through even Senior level (again, more on this, later,) it doesn’t matter if it is Little League; Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth or Park & Rec: if the weather permits; and your community supports its members who volunteer to work with kids to achieve success through Youth Baseball; and the kids are focused on Baseball as a primary activity: you can see success as a natural result of that kind of commitment.
Then why, you may be asking now, is Little League a Girl’s Best Hope: if the real deciding factors are available time and commitment to developing a team towards reaching its potential?
It is the lack of these resources (and, in San Francisco for example, where the goal of building on-going from ages 6-13 singularly exceptional teams isn’t another barrier to participation) that forces Little League to adopt the open door policy that should include girls. it is only the pervasiveness of Softball and the self-fulfilling destiny that it brings to girls worldwide, again: diverting attention from the simple administrative task of signing up your daughter for Baseball this Fall Ball, as offered in some communities, but DEFINITELY FOR NEXT SPRING SEASON!!!