As a child, I had a few lovely years dreaming about baseball, collecting cards, begging my parents to go to games. The Baltimore Orioles were my favorite. Not sure why.
If I couldn’t sleep at night, I would sneak downstairs and find my mitt and a ball. I would scurry back to my room, lie in bed and throw the ball up in the air over and over until I became sleepy.
I remember sitting on my parents bed one afternoon filled with exhilaration that a baseball game would be broadcast on TV any moment. As a child baseball brought me joy and fantasy.
At some startling point, I began to notice something about baseball that didn’t feel right.
Then the questions came.
Why were there no female professional players that I knew of? Why did a girl have to switch to softball if she wanted to play in high school or college? Why do other sports embrace female athletes and baseball seems to exclude them? How could I love a sport that did not reciprocate my feelings?
I decided then that there was clear evidence of across the board, internationally decided upon discrimination towards women playing baseball. It broke my heart.
I do not remember a certain moment or conversation or day that I cut baseball out of my life, it just happened.
I never played softball, refused out of principal even though I probably would have loved it.
My own children are now 5 and 8. When our oldest first became captivated with the sport I supported him but lacked genuine feelings of excitement. Attending his practices and games with enthusiasm was forced which felt very sad and empty to me.
This month my son’s new season of baseball has just begun. His excitement, dedication and talent for the game is stunning; I can’t help but feel a shift, an opening in my heart.
I now watch with teary eyes and realize that my son gave me a second chance, if I take it.
A chance to not let the limits and barriers enforced by others take anything away from me. There are many women who have broken through the discrimination in baseball; I could have been one of them.
I have choices. I can choose to enjoy baseball again. I can encourage my son to be aware of the history of women and girls who fought to play the sport with little support. I can offer him an option to be compassionate to what some of the girls in his league may be experiencing.
Yesterday, I decided to make a big move and officially pass on my collection of old baseball cards to my children. I’ll never forget the moment our oldest spotted the Cal Ripken card in the collection. His eyes became wide with possibility and pride that I, his mama, had awesome baseball cards.
He hugged me and said he would never sell the card because then all he would have is the money and the card would be gone forever. Smart choice my dear son and thank you.