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July 16, 2009

Playing Like Girls?

Two women in Congress, one Democrat and one Republican, have gotten together to start a Congressional women's softball team.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) had had enough. The boys always play baseball together and practice for hours. Though women can join, it’s rare. And so the feisty Floridian, who announced just this year that she had successfully battled breast cancer, teamed up with Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) to create a bipartisan female softball team. They’re set to play their first — only? — game against staff from the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee — benefiting the Young Survival Coalition.

About 15 women have been practicing at 7 a.m. every morning for the past month.

“We have a number of really good athletes. We were all surprised by how much athletic ability there is in the women’s caucus,” Wasserman Schultz says. [Politico via Writes Like She Talks]

I think this is a really cool idea and I hope the team gets to do some more of these charity games in the future. (I also have this hilarious mental image of the teams lined up after the games to receive little baseball trophies and softball trophies like kids get in Little League. Which then leads to an even funnier image of Democrats and Republicans lined up in the House and Senate chambers to collect little corporate awards style trophies for 'Best Teammate' or 'Most Likely to Be Bipartisan' or whatever. But I digress.) At the same time, I also would have loved it if the group of women had gotten together and all joined the baseball team instead, because it has always annoyed me that girls are shuffled off from baseball to softball once they hit a certain age and really for no reason. But it turns out that there was a reason why they chose not to go that route.

The team also wants to have fun, so they use Little League rules and are applying the mercy rule of first to five runs in an inning.
Regarding why Wasserman Schultz has never played baseball with the guys, she tells Shenanigans: “Some of us have thought about playing baseball, but they take it so seriously. If I’m going to commit to be out at 7 a.m. practices, I’m going to want to play at some point. And they’re so damn competitive — I know the odds of one of us getting in the game is slim.” (She’s right.)
I can understand this reasoning because I'm still traumatized from some of the coed volleyball tournaments that I suffered through in high school, where the girls just wanted to play and have fun and the boys were acting as if they were participating in the Olympic trials. (Obviously that's not to say that all of the boys were super competitive and none of the girls were, but the boys were much more likely to take it way over-the-top, especially considering that the prize for winning was...absolutely nothing.) It's kinda disappointing, but not really surprising, to hear that this team full of grown men who also happen to be elected members of Congress is still capable of acting like a bunch of immature teenagers or characters from She's the Man.

I don't know who is on the congressional baseball team, but I highly doubt that every single man on the team is a better athlete than every single woman on the new softball team. So, the fact that Rep. Wasserman Schultz believes, apparently with good reason, that if any women did join the baseball team they would rarely if ever get to play is just sad. I think the best solution would be for the women's team to challenge the men's team to a game - think how much money that matchup could raise for charity!

Update: The game was played on Tuesday night and although the women lost the game to the team of staffers they were facing, the game raised $40,000 for the Young Survivors Coalition, a breast cancer charity.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Awesome awareness activity. And $40,000 is pretty fucking cool. I'm from Florida and <3 the Debbie.