June 28, 2013: Play Ball

Baseball is a big deal in my hometown of Remsen. In fact, it's a really big deal and rightfully so. Our little town produced State Championship baseball teams and Professional League baseball players. Young boys played Little League ball in preparation for high school.

The boys played at a baseball diamond strategically placed next to our public swimming pool. There was no girls’ softball program. Our role was to cheer on the baseball boys while juggling our time with laying out at the pool.
Our laid back days as onlookers took a dramatic turn the year Kim Schorg was recruited to the boys' team. Kim was talented, athletic, and a girl. She was as good a ball player; as good, if not better, as her male counterparts. Coach reveled in this crown recruit of his team. What Coach didn’t anticipate was the reaction of the other Remsen girls.

Previous to Kim’s recruitment, it had never crossed our minds that we were being slighted. Not having the opportunity to play a summer sport was not viewed as an injustice. Following the inclusion of Kim and the exclusion of every other girl, we then understood equal rights and our lack thereof.

Our collective reaction was to go to City Hall. We asked to sign up for the boys’ league too. The baseball commissioner conceded to our requests to participate. Kim's entry created a pathway for girls of all athletic ability. The floodgate was opened.
The new girl players were sprinkled on the existing boys’ teams. None of us had ever played summer ball before. It was an athletic disaster to say the least. I spent most of my time getting out of the way of fast balls and tossing arrant throws. My athletic ability wasn't surpassed by most of the other female team members either.

Although good sports with the female invasion, the little league boys were left wondering how they got dealt this hand of cards. What should have been their glory days of competitive summer ball turned into a lesson in how not to hurt the girls.

The next year, Kim continued on with the boys’ league to complete her successful run in baseball. She went on to enjoy a spectacular high school softball career. The rest of us were given the honor of participating in the first ever Remsen Girls' Softball League. Other than Kim, our baseball careers ended after a year.
Dads and moms volunteered as coaches and a program was organized similar to the boys.  We signed up at City Hall and were given a team and a name.  I was a “Live Wire” and now had to balance my precious summer time between the pool and my team’s practice and game schedule.  

Although I would like to end this story with visions of Madonna playing in a Remsen version of "A League of Her Own", this was not the case.  I didn’t follow in the footsteps of Kim Schorg. There was no glimmer of talent for me on the softball front, but it sure was a fun way to spend the summer.


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