• Imagine, if you will, an 11-year old who loves everything about the game of baseball- the precision, the raised red stitching, the stats, the cards, the names and the history- and imagine her showing up for a summer recreational league and being told by the coach, who hasn't even seen her play, that she should have come to the earlier tryout for 6-9 year olds. Imagine her being insulted as only a young person can be, not yet hardened to life's disappointments, and then imagine her coming back the next day anyhow and making the 11-12 year old team anyhow and letting the 4-week season become her whole life, anyhow.

     

    And then imagine that same girl, twenty years later, seeing the Colorado Silver Bullets take the field at Fenway Park against a men's team, and even though they only play seven innings and even though they lose and even though, by this time, life's indignities and disappointments have knocked more frequently at the door to her heart, imagine her flinging the door wide open.

     

    Historically girls and women have been discouraged, even banned, from playing baseball and have been steered towards softball as an alternative. I was one of those girls. I was told I threw “like a boy” but when I wanted to play baseball I was not encouraged to play with the boys. Baseball and softball are similar in some ways but baseball has a mythology and a history which are part of the allure of the game. I bought baseball cards on my way home from school, checked the stats and the standings every day in the newspaper and tucked a transistor radio under my pillow, listening to the play-by-play when I was supposed to be sleeping. One summer in 1975 I did get a chance to play baseball in a recreational league in the town where my family was on vacation. That summer was an initiation into the joys and perils of being a girl who loved a game that wasn't quite ready to love me back.

     

    Over the past 25 years I have been documenting the growing opportunities for girls and women to play hardball. Today there are teams and leagues across the country, as well as national and international tournaments where girls and women can compete against each other at the highest level.