McDaniel: In the sunshine: inclusion in baseball

From Rachael McDaniel at The Hardball Times on May 9, 2018:

We all feel alone, at some time or another, for some reason or another. Sports are a balm for this feeling. You put on the colors, or you step out onto the field, or you simply sit at home, radio on, silently appreciating a play made, and in that moment you become part of a community. Even if you’re by yourself, sitting in the stands on a chilly summer evening or leaning up against a center-field concourse railing, arms crossed, watching this strange collective ritual along with thousands of other people — you just can’t be alone. That’s how I feel, anyway. That’s what I want to believe.

The first word I ever knew of for people like me was he-she. Even though I was born in 1997, even though I grew up in a hippie left-liberal coastal Canadian city, where you would have thought people talked differently, understood things differently. You would think someone who comes from here, who’s this young, would be sheltered from language that’s considered offensive in almost all polite conversation now.

I wasn’t a he-she when I first heard the term. How could I be? I was just a kid. I don’t remember who was being referred to — it was a conversation I was too young to be a part of. But I could tell from the tone, the bite underneath the two syllables. “He” and “she” are innocuous, natural syllables on their own; the combination of the two was threatening. He-she was obviously something unnatural, something that wasn’t supposed to happen.

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Originally published: May 9, 2018. Last Updated: May 9, 2018.