Welcome to SPORTY GIRL BOOKS. At SPORTY GIRL, we want to give all girls the chance to love, watch, play, read, and write about any sport that interests them. We look forward to the day when the words, "You play like a girl," is the biggest compliment anyone can receive.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Learning from Sister Bear and my baseball-playing mother

I've always been a fan of The Berenstain Bears, but this book is my hands-down favorite. In Go Out For The Team, Sister Bear determines to try out with Brother Bear for the one vacant spot on the town baseball team. It's a big step up from playing in the field, but Sister Bear is bold and up for the challenge. When Brother Bear fakes an injury because of the pressure that she might make it and he won't, Sister is the one to tell him she's as good as she is because he's taught her so much. She convinces him to practice with her and still try out. I appreciate Sister Bear's can-do attitude. She is one confident bear. Add her athletic skills, and she becomes the new player on the town team. (In Berenstain Bear fashion, the coach also wanted Brother Bear, and his amazing hitting skills, so both Brother and Sister make the team).

I also appreciate seeing that even back in 1987, books encouraged girls to believe in themselves, try out, and compete with the boys.

My mom pitched on an otherwise all-boys baseball 5th and 6th grade team in 1953. She let me interview her for Sport Girl Books:

Can you tell me how the team came about?
I grew up in a small farming community of Laketown, Utah. When a teacher came to town expecting to teach tenth grade, but was given 5th and 6th grade class instead, he determined to make a baseball team.

So how did you get on the team?
We were so small that there weren't enough boys to field it, so they had to let me play.

Right, but they could have stuck you in right field, how is it that you pitched?
I grew up playing with these boys. We'd play baseball in the street in from of Grandpa's house. I couldn't imagine piano practice, not when the boys were playing ball.

So the boys knew I could play, already. I pitched for organized recess. That was our "baseball" practice time. The other girls in the school batted and ran bases because they needed a team to practice against. Lake town Elementary played the two other schools in the county (Garden City and Randolph) and won.

We had a field day afterward with races, broad jump, and high jump. I didn't win the the broad jump, but I won the 100 yard dash. I beat out all the 5th and 6th graders, boys and girls.

Did you have to wear a skirt?
I did have to wear a skirt, but I wore shorts under it.

Did everyone have a glove?
Everyone had some version of one. I played with my dad's mitt. It had four fingers and a thumb, with not leather in between. It was a pancake glove.

Now in Jr. high and high school I pitched for the softball team and gave my mitt to Lana, because she was the only one willing the catch for me.

So you pitched without a glove? I've caught a ball hit hard off the bat without a glove and it sure stings.

That it does.

Thanks for being on Sporty Girl Books! When growing up (I pitched softball, as well, but found my home on first base), when anyone asked me how I learned to play ball, I proudly told them my mother taught me.

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