Leading up to the International Softball Federation IX Jr. Women's World Championship (19-and-under), December 6-17, 2011, in Cape Town, South Africa, USA Softball Junior Women's National Team members Cheyenne Cordes, an outfielder from Fairfield, Calif., and Chelsea Goodacre, a catcher from Temecula, Calif., will be blogging biweekly for USASoftball.com.
May 20, 2011
Goodacre: 'All we need now is for the high schools to step up'
Looking for the softball field?
My freshman year of high school, I was looking for the softball fields and I asked one of the students,where the varsity softball fields are? The reply was something like this; “if you are looking for the Varsity Softball Field, you simply have to walk through the main entry gates to the school, continue straight ahead and you will see a huge stadium”,which by the way could easily be mistaken for something used by a Single A or Double A professional baseball team. It has a four story announcer booth, concrete stadium seating, snack bar with all the equipment needed to prepare a meal for a small army, and a booming sound system to play walk up music and announce the players. By the way, this is our varsity baseball field so the directions continued.
"Once you reach this baseball monument er, field, just make a right turn, continue past the portable classrooms, pass the auto shop and look way off in the distance for a couple of old weather beaten and faded semi-trailers, without the wheels on them, and behind those wheel-less trailers you will see a chain link fence circling some dirt with weeds growing through it in some places, and that would be the softball varsity field."
OK, this may be embellished a bit, but sadly, not by much! Even more sadly is that my school is not alone. It seems that unless a school was built in the last few years, the softball fields and girls locker rooms are just after thoughts and are barely enough to “get by with” and the equipment, oh boy the equipment the girls softball team uses is, um, nostalgic, to put it nicely.
It's amazing to me that in this day and age, this still happens. We hear so much about Title IX pressuring schools to do the right thing and make things equal, but as a recent high school student and softball player, I can tell you that equality in athletics in the public school system (at least where I attended school) was far from equal.
With this sort of stuff going on, how can anyone believe that girls’ sports, particularly softball, is considered equal to boy’s baseball at the high school level? (Again, at least this is the case at my high school.) I think sometimes that they don’t think girls practice as hard and take softball as serious as boys take baseball, but nothing could be further from the truth. I know a few high school baseball players who rarely practice at all, and if they did, could in no way keep up with the practice and training myself and some of my teammates do, and do all this, while maintaining our grades. Okay, before I make too many baseball players angry, yes, there are exceptions to every rule on both sides. I’m not saying all high school baseball players don’t practice or get good grades, but I am saying that WE GIRLS DO TOO!
Imagine, if the high school staff told the boys baseball team, they would have to spend a season playing or even practicing on our softball field. I can only imagine the uproar this would cause. Baseball players, parents, and coaches would be screaming from the roof tops to put things back the way they were! But why – it should be equal, right?
I know softball doesn’t have a big league contracts waiting for us at the end of our college careers (yet), but during the time we do have to play this game, shouldn’t it be spent having adequate facilities to play on and good equipment to play with?
I was told a long time ago that in order to play this game, the things you needed were; a glove, a bat, a ball, a field and a lot of heart. Well, I am here to tell you, the girls with heart have shown up with their gloves and bats– all we need now is for the high schools to step up and do their part!
I have played my last season of softball at my high school and my parents say that these things shouldn’t matter to me anymore, but I tell them that “this is my high school, I want to feel proud that I was a softball player here." I do, for the most part, but as a player I feel like, and the surroundings clearly suggest that girls softball is just not as highly regarded as boys baseball, at least this is the case at this ol’ alma matter. I wonder how many more girls are experiencing the same thing.
Until next time…