The game of slow-pitch as defined by www.merriam-webster.com is softball played with ten players on each side and in which each pitch must have an arc 3 to 10 feet high, and base stealing is not allowed.
Of the ten players (in mixed slow-pitch) who grace the diamond with their self-boasting talent, four of those are women.
Strangers to the game might believe it is the men who strengthen the team of ten. I mean, it seems natural that they’d be the game changers.
There are more of them. They are bigger and stronger. They swing the bat harder. They throw the ball further. Some of them even run faster than most women. You would think with all those qualities on their side; they wouldn’t feel a need to inform the people (on multiple occasions) of how many balls they can hit over the fence. Nonetheless, it is an ongoing conversation at slow pitch diamonds across the Nation.
It would seem reasonable to consider it is the men who make the game of mixed slow-pitch.
Raaaaaallllllllllffff…oops, excuse me, that was the sound of me vomiting in my mouth. It’s just I had such a hard time writing those sentences. And not because I want to pick on the men, albeit it may be misconstrued as such. By men. Who play ball. And boast of their power hitting.
For real, though, of the ten guys who may read my blog, I sincerely apologise to the two of them who may be wearing the red “Make America Great Again” ball caps. This piece most likely won’t fit into your weekly repertoire of reading. To my enlightened male readers who know deep down inside — it is women who make this game great, read on. I have some viable logic to back up my beliefs.
Please don’t get me wrong. Many of these slow-pitch men are incredibly talented. And boy oh boy, I am lucky to stand by some of them on the field. (I didn’t mean all of that sarcastically, I truly admire these players, but, take it as you will).
Although men are what make the game competitive; they are positively not — the game changers.
It is my sisters in cleats who bring a level of ROAR to mixed slow-pitch. The girls who stand proudly on the dirt. Mouth guard in, glove on hand, and ready to do anything they can to touch home plate. Raspberries on asses, cut bloody knees, black eyes, and bruised shins are the colours these girls wear all summer long. They are warriors on the diamond. They fight harder to play ball with the boys than any boy could ever imagine performing. If the numbers alone don’t convince you of the strength these women bring to the game. Maybe I will. I sincerely believe women are the real heroes of the game.
It is women who make the game of mixed slow-pitch.
You might find yourself asking the question, but how? You just said, the men are stronger; they hit the ball harder…blah…blah…blah.
I know what I said.
However, it is those strengths and attributes superior to women’s, which empower women to be the ultimate slow-pitch teammate. Stay with me ladies. I know none of us wants to use the word superior, (especially in twenty-seventeen) when describing the equality of men and women.
Hear me out.
The fact is, on average; men are stronger, bigger, etc. than women. It’s genetics, and it’s cool because we don’t need no stinkin’ genetics to kick slow pitch’s ass or any ass for that matter. We outshine our male teammates in spite of it. We play harder because of it.
Let’s put it into perspective.
There are six strong, burly, over-the-fence-hitting-men, and four smaller ambitious women standing beside them on the field. With those odds, the game becomes that much more difficult for women. Women are faced with the challenge of hitting a ball through a (stronger or faster) guy each time they step up to the plate. Funny, though, these girls somehow still manage to maintain a decent batting average without smashing the ball over the fence. Girls are bendy like that. They adapt to a game saturated with guys amidst a fierceness men could never understand. Not because men can’t be empathetic or bendy. But in the game of slow-pitch men aren’t faced with a team mismatched by gender or strength. Women absolutely have to work harder.
On most mixed teams you will find the female infielders standing on the first and third baselines. (You know, where the ball gets hit the hardest and the fastest). These girls stand tall when Mr Over-the-fence comes up to the plate. Without even blinking an eye they dig their cleats into the dirt while watching him shift his feet to bestow the — I am going to hit this ball down the third baseman’s throat — stance. Furthermore, as that one-hundred-mile-an-hour ball glides with what appears to be white lighting attached to it, and is now quickly approaching their shins, they step toward it. Taking the one hop to the glove, solely to prove they can throw that boy out. With less strength behind her throw, tell me she’s not the game changer?
Women of mixed slow-pitch are some of the bravest and gritty women I know. Imagine if you will, entering a boxing match. Your opponent has a much longer reach and outweighs you by one-hundred pounds. Some may step into the ring, admitting defeat before the bell even rings. But the women of slow-pitch they aren’t like that. Every time they step on the diamond, they bring a fearless mentality. The size or strength of their teammates or opponents only causes an ache in their belly to play to the best of their ability. Undoubtedly these women work harder on the field. As a matter of fact, they have no choice but to.
And that my friends, is precisely how and why women make mixed slow-pitch the great game it is. Without these women warriors who never stand against their larger opponent and admit defeat, we wouldn’t know a competitive mixed slow-pitch game at all.
Now get out of my way, I have a ball to steal from a guy in the outfield.