Girls, Baseball & National Girls & Women In Sports Day

Did you know today was National Girls & Women In Sports Day? If you’re unfamiliar with National Girls and women in Sports Day, here is the lowdown from their website:

“On February 1, 2012, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students, and parents across the country will show their support of the Day and of this year's theme, "Title IX at 40: In it for the Long Run."

Athletes like Martina Navratilova, Candace Parker or Jessica Mendoza who played or are still playing are making a difference, overcoming difficult circumstances, breaking records and making things possible.

Despite the stunning advances made in the 40 years since Title IX was enacted, high school girls still receive 1.3 million fewer participation opportunities than do boys, and evidence suggests that the money spent on girls' sports programs lags significantly behind the money spent on boys' programs.”

It seems timely that this day would fall right now, as girls and women in sports has been on my mind lately. For us here in California where I live we are just now starting baseball season. Practices at least, games will start the first week in March. This is the first time my son is playing on a team with no girls on it. There are girls in our league, just not very many. So there are only a few teams that end up with girls on the roster. I’m always happy to see the girls that do play, play. And often times they play better… But I always wish there were more.

I’ve talked about here on the SheHeroes blog about the obstacles and that young girls once faced trying to break the Little League glass ceiling here.

But sadly enough as we celebrate the start of another baseball season as well National Girls & Women In Sports Day, I’m disappointed to find that in some places Little League still holds a glass ceiling as strong as it was in the 1950s.

Places like Allen, Texas.

7-year-old Anna Kimball played on a youth Baseball team with her younger brother until recently when she was kicked off the team. For being a girl.

Anna’s mother got the call last week that though Anna is one of the better players on the team she was being kicked off because the coach was moving this group of 7 year old into a more competitive league. A league that doesn’t allow girls.

"I can't believe that's she 7 and already having to face this," Anna’s mother, Tami Kimball told KDFW. "She's already having to hear someone say, 'Because of who you are, because you were born a girl, you're not allowed to go do something.'"

I’m not sure which bothers me more, the fact that this league doesn’t allow girls or the fact that the coach decided this group of 7 year olds need to be more competitive even if it meant giving one of his better players the boot.

But as sad as I am to hear about something like this happening, I’m happy to see Anna and her mother going public with this and all the support I’ve seen online for them. Let’s hope that this is not actually the end of this story…

And while we’re thinking about it, and thinking about National Girls & Women In Sports Day, remember to give a little extra shout this Baseball season to the girls you see step up to the plate. Because the only reason they’re able to step up to that plate is because of girls like Anna. Girls who were told they couldn’t play.

Girls, who played anyway. Because play baseball, is what ball players do.

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