Friday, October 21, 2016

You Wish You Could Throw Like My Girls!

"You throw like a girl!"

I despise that expression with a passion. But I've said it. So have you, I'm sure, and loads of people you know, too. I've even heard women say it. It's supposed to mean that you throw weakly, awkwardly, wimpy, and not the right way.

It's a load of bollocks.

Before anyone wonders, I am not turning this into any sort of political or ideological post and I will not tolerate anyone who does the same in the comments, because that's not even my point. I'm writing this from personal experiences but also in the hope that I can get anyone who hasn't come around to at least look at it from another point of view even if it doesn't change anybody's mind.

In order to set the stage, let me back up a bit. As I said above, I was guilty of using the expression growing up, and as I've already pointed out, I have heard almost as many women as men use it in its intended derogatory/chiding manner. However, my thinking began to change a lot once I became a parent. My wife and I were blessed with four incredible kids, three of whom are our beautiful daughters. I swore from the day that they were born that my girls would play sports, not cheer others on (and no offense intended to anyone who was/is a cheerleader or has daughters who cheer. It's just not something I ever wanted for my girls). I didn't realize how much I disliked the phrase "you throw like a girl," though, until I was watching the Super Bowl a couple of years ago (which my Patriots won!) with a former friend and his kids. There was a commercial which examined how the phrase makes boys and girls feel, both those who say it and those who it's said to. It was the rare ad that actually made me stop and pay attention and really hit a nerve, especially since I was watching it with my two oldest daughters (my wife was upstairs putting our younger two kids to bed). What really made it hit home for me was when my former friend was sitting there next to me mocking the ad and the kids in it while his own daughter was right there in the room! I couldn't believe it, but I held my tongue and didn't say anything (and this situation isn't the reason we're not friends any more, but that's neither here nor there). By that time, both of my daughters had been playing softball and soccer and I supported them (and I still do) every step of the way, so to realize that this term was meant to imply that doing something poorly was equated to doing it the way my girls might...I didn't like that at all.

Fast forward to the present and my two oldest girls are 11 1/12 and 10. Both play softball and both are really good at it. I've taught them how to throw, catch, and hit a softball properly and they do it every bit as good, if not better in many cases, than any boy their age. They play hard, slide into bases, get dirty diving for grounders and fly balls, and are tough. One is a shortstop/first baseman and the other is a catcher (just like her dad!). I've taught them how to throw a football with a tight spiral, how to shoot a jump shot, how to read stat lines and box scores for baseball games, and the finer points of basketball and football. My youngest daughter is 5 1/2 and good at hitting and throwing a baseball, although she prefers soccer. She's fast, aggressive, and has a good strong kick. (My 7 year old son is really good at baseball and plays basketball, but he's a boy so he gets left out of this post!). My girls most certainly don't throw, hit, catch, kick, or run any differently than any boy, and in many ways they're better than many girls AND boys their own age who play sports. So nowadays, every time I hear someone mocks another person by saying they "throw like a girl," I tell them straight up what an insult that is to my girls!

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