As my son’s Little League team was preparing for their turn at bat, one of the assistant coaches clapped his hands loudly and yelled, “Now don’t be out there swinging like girls!”
To me, it was an “Ooooooo!” moment. I looked around expecting gasps from the other mothers but they just clapped along offering additional encouragement.
Was I the only one to take offense?
We’re raising our daughter to be strong, to be independent, and to never accept that she’s anything less than equal to the cootie-laden opposite sex. I want her to know that there are no pre-set limitations on what she can achieve and I refuse to let her accept any submissive role that society has pre-carved for her.
So when I heard him shout this out to a bunch of 8-year old boys, I looked at my daughter and said, “Someday these boys will WISH they could hit like you.”
She then babbled something about wanting a pink lemonade Ice Pop, but my point was made.
Our sons are taught to respect boys and girls alike. My oldest actually fears girls and avoids them like the plague, but Michael doesn’t even distinguish between the two. He just sees playmates.
I think Michael knows how ridiculous the “like a girl” insults are because he has such a strong mother. A woman who overcame multiple spinal surgeries and even partial paralysis at the age of 20 to achieve what doctors said she probably wouldn’t.
They told her to take it easy. To accept a life of reduced activity. They even warned her about having children out of fear that the spinal fusion could shift during childbirth. Yet she accepted the risk.
She can run. She can hit. She can shoot. And she can throw. All with speed, force, power, and accuracy.
She climbs, hikes, tackles, plays, and even wrestles with the children she never thought she’d have. Here she was told to take it easy, yet she doesn’t slow down long enough to even consider it.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at her but my wife lives in constant daily pain. Because of her spinal fusion and due to an inoperable resulting condition, tests have concluded that her pain will never go away. Ever.
Yet even with this massive hurdle in place, she keeps our family going. She is our rock. And I love her in more ways than I could ever put into words. I feel blessed to have someone like her in my life, and I know that our children, and myself, are stronger because of her.
“Don’t swing like a girl?”
They could only be so lucky. For I don’t know many men more strong-willed, resilient, and determined than my wife.
I realize I can’t stop people from saying these kinds of things, but I can make sure that my daughter doesn’t believe them.
And if my words aren’t enough?
She has to look no further than her own mother for inspiration.