Saturday, August 16, 2008

Girls In the Infield

I've been playing some form of baseball for 16 or 17 years now. And like most people I started playing with other little girls and boys playing tee-ball. Things progressed and the other little girls slowly stopped coming until it was just me and my friend Lisa. I was on an OASA traveling team with a group of guys that I grew up with until I got scouted by a PWSA team from the closest city. At that point it was bye, bye boys and I started to play with only girls until I graduated from high school. Then I had a 5ish year break until I made my return to the diamond 3 summers ago in Reachforth Slo-Pitch.

Now that I'm playing again, I'm back in mixed company. I am a 2nd baseman. Or at least that is what my PWSA coach trained me to be. Its where I feel the most comfortable. But well, playing with guys again, I have to question if having me at 2nd base is the best thing for the team. Traditionally men are bigger, stronger, faster and in adult mixed leagues, they both make up most of the team and most of the key positions on the field.

In our league you have to have 2 women on the field at all times and usually there is one returning the lob ball pitches, right field is popular (as we play with 4 outfielders - using a 'rover') and sometimes 2nd base. So then I question, am I one of those chicks who has been placed at 2nd because I'm loud and said I could play there and there is a shortstop to back me up, or is it because I can play?

Because I question this, I tend to think that I have something to prove. That every time I walk on to the field and take my position that I have to show the guys that I can play that position. I think I do pretty well and although my stomach hurts with nerves as I get ready for every game, I have settled in.

Every once in a while another "baseball" girl plays with me, whether its for a tournament that I've been asked to play in or in league play when we've been short players and had to bring in friends of teammates. By baseball girl, I mean another female who says she can play. And, well, not to sound conceited, but often these other women come with a mouth larger than their skill set. They say they are infielders, but then fail to deliver the goods. This does two things - 1) makes boys question having girls in their infield 2) usually makes me look good if I play a solid game.

All of this to say that I recognize that I have a great opportunity to be playing in the infield with a great bunch of guys. Because of this I try to push myself to play at their level or better. And sometimes that makes my stomach hurt before games.

(We have two games this morning to make up rainouts)

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