Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Playing kickball in 1960

Angry girl's note: There is some adrenaline-fueled inappropriate language in this post.

When I was in high school, word came through the RHS grapevine that the boys soccer team had a nickname for me: The chick with a dick.

Imagine the excitement a teenage girl felt about this moniker. This is what you get for being sort of built like a linebacker.

I didn't think about this at all tonight during a kickball game in which, if you walk a male runner, he gets two bases, and if you walk a female runner, she gets one base. Using my deductive reasoning, it would appear the City of Lubbock thinks girls are one-half as valuable in kickball as boys.

Imagine the excitement a grown woman with an unhealthy competitive spirit and a short fuse felt about this rule.

I had to keep telling myself, "It's just a game, Heidi. It's just a game." In between repeating that mantra, I repeated another mantra: "What the hell?" and maybe one or two other words that my mom has to pretend to be shocked and horrified when she hears me say, usually during soccer games. Where does the city get off thinking that women are less capable at rec league kickball than men?

I made myself feel better by kicking a home run and sending myself and three people home to win in decisive and in-your-face fashion. In my defense, I have never been a good sport.

Now that it's an hour later, I took the freeway like a race car driver and I have a washcloth over my wound, I can look at this somewhat calmly. Here are the rules I find objectionable:

  1. If the pitcher is a woman, the catcher must be a man, and vice versa.
  2. Batters have to alternate between the sexes.
  3. If you walk a man, he gets two bases. If you walk a woman, she gets one.

The first two bother me simply because they point out an arbitrary difference based simply on gender. What if the pitcher and catcher were both men.? Would it really make that big of a difference? There have to be equal numbers of men and women on the field, so if you have two men in those positions, you have two women elsewhere on the field. The assumption here, insofar as I can tell, is men are objectively better, so if you have two stronger players in field, you have two weaker (for argument's sake) players in the outfield. Better hope no one gets a good hard kick in!

Same with kicking. Again, you have equal numbers. If all the men (harder kickers) bat first, then all the weaker kickers (for argument's sake) bat in a row. I don't know much about strategy in this type of sport, but I feel like that's not good strategy.

Those two rules indirectly assume women are less capable. They bug me, but biologically and statistically, men are stronger and faster than women. That doesn't mean every man and every woman, and it certainly doesn't mean women can't keep up (particularly as everyone gets old and arthritic). However, the powers that be want to ensure everyone gets to play. I could let those two go.

The third rule outright says women are less capable and thus are less of an advantage to their team. We've only played one game, and I've only seen one team, but I saw men only get to first base and women go farther. It rewards men simply for being male. A rule like this both otherizes women and devalues us. It's not fair to anyone on that field.

Listen, City of Lubbock, we're not looking for special treatment. We -- all of us on Team #NoComment -- just want to have fun. And we'd like to do it without being subjectively discriminated against based on gender.

Play ball!


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