Belly Baseball

As my best friend Pearl and I shuffle into the gym we glance around the room and see that Mrs. Sargent (Sarg for short) has the words “belly baseball” on the rolly board for today’s class. Pearl and I look at each other so excited, all I can think is that we haven’t played this in so long! Sarg goes through the rules about how we all need to stay on our tummies as we are at each base and when it is our turn to kick the ball, to kick it hard. Sarg splits up the class into even teams of girls and boys. She calls out that the blue team will kick first. All I can think is how excited I am to play this game, and that Pearl and I are on the same team kicking first.

Pearl and I waltz on over to line up for the kicking of the ball. First was one of the boys in my class, he takes a few steps back and everyone spreads out in the open field (the gym floor). Some people run all the way out to the back of the gym. As the boy runs at the ball he kicks it all the way to the other side of the gym, and the people in the field were ready for it because they spread out. However, he still made it to first base. Next, it was my turn. As I take a few steps back everyone in the field moves up close to me and the boys mutter under their breath. I try and read their lips as they say, “oh she’s small and because she’s a girl she isn’t gonna kick it as far as the first guy. Everybody needs to move up closer so it’s easier to get her out”. This infuriated me and made me sad. I was so excited to play belly baseball and now I was second-guessing my ability to kick a ball and I was doubting myself. I run at the ball and barely touched it before someone catches it mid-air and I’m out. I was sad but didn’t even care because I knew I didn’t even have a chance.

Pearl knew something was off as soon as I kicked because I barely tried and was supposedly super excited for this. And since she was up next she yelled to me, “this kick is for you”. She took a few steps back as all the boys in the outfield moved close to her as they did for me, most likely thinking the same thing. She ran at the ball as fast as she could. She kicked that ball so hard it flew to the opposite side of the gym. The team in the outfield was so unprepared for this because they all assumed she couldn’t kick it far, and she ended up running through all the bases before they got the ball back.

This memory of belly baseball is one of the first times I remember that I doubted myself because someone assumed that since I was a girl I couldn’t do something as well as a boy could. I carry this with me because I try to remember how my friend acted in this situation, she gave it her all and surprised everyone around her. Girls often are thought of as weak and incapable of certain tasks. And why? Seriously why?

3 thoughts on “Belly Baseball”

  1. I love your story and it brought back so many memories of both my own schooling as well as things I have witnessed working in the school system as an adult. It’s interesting how, without even thinking about it, that we assume girls to be weaker especially in sports or other traditionally male dominated areas such as shop.

    I think the last paragraph could have been left out. It outlines your interpretation and reflection of the event rather than just giving the reader the snippet of the actual event and letting them develop their own interpretation and feelings about what you shared.

    You post definitely has me thinking especially as we have just enrolled our young daughter in baseball, at her request. Will be interesting to see what behaviours such as this we will observe in 5 and 6 year old’s on the ball field. Sadly, I hazard a guess they will be very similar to your experience.

  2. I do agree that girls should not be considered weak by anyone. But however, it is true that boys are naturally stronger than girls. It is just in their bodies because they have high testosterone levels, unlike girls. This is likely because they just did most of the physical labour back in the day. So naturally, boys can outperform girls in sports

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