Landrey: When the sport you love doesn’t love you back

From Corrine Landrey at The Hardball Times on April 14, 2016:

The first self-motivated daily routine I remember adopting was picking up the sports page at the breakfast table each morning and poring over box scores. I decoded columns titled “AB,” “H” and “R.” I studied the standings and watched teams rise and fall on strength of “Ws and Ls.” I questioned why pitchers with big numbers in the ERA column kept showing up in a box score every fifth day. I was 5 years old.

My childhood love affair with baseball isn’t particularly unique. I relished opportunities to buy baseball cards at the local card shop. I spent countless hours playing catch each summer with friends and with my dad. I struggled to stay awake each night as I fell asleep listening to Harry Kalas’ voice on my bedside radio. I was virtually indistinguishable from any other kid who loved baseball with one notable exception: I was a girl.

My reality as a girl who loved baseball is that throughout my life baseball has constantly reinforced its message that although I’m always welcome as a fan, baseball is not actually for me. Baseball’s subtle but steady rejection of me began when I became old enough to play in a recreation league and, like so many other girls throughout the country, I was urged to play softball instead of baseball.

As a kid, you don’t question the reality with which you’re presented and if that meant softball was as close as I could ever get to playing the sport I loved, so be it. I played from elementary school through high school without a single regret. I loved having a physical outlet for my love of the game, even though it wasn’t exactly the game. But with the perspective brought on by time and adulthood, I’m struck by the absurdity of it all. I wanted baseball but baseball didn’t want me back. The message was crystal clear: Baseball is not for you, it’s for boys.

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Originally published: April 14, 2016. Last Updated: April 14, 2016.