Friday, June 08, 2007

Softball Sexism

Mobius plays in a summer softball league. Our division is made up of other law firms, and though attorneys are not known for their softball prowess, it seems the people on the team have a good time, win or lose. (You can tell a firm does its fair share of losing when they say stuff like, "we have a good time, win or lose!") Mobius's record is 2-3, but in their defense, Mobius has a higher percentage of lawyers on the team than any other firm in the league. The other teams appear to be made up of the support staff and the husbands of the support staff, who are professional summer league softball players.

Anyhoo, it all seemed like such a good time that I joined the softball team. And then I realized what a sexist, sexist world it really is. Since the lawyer-league softball teams are co-ed, there are certain rules to ensure that women are given a fair shake. There are fairly innocuous rules, like that the batting order must go male-female-male-female, and that there must be at least 4 women in the outfield at all times. But then there are stupid, sexist rules. For example, if a man is walked, the woman behind him is also automatically walked. This does not apply if a woman is walked. Also, men are not permitted to wear gloves. In Chicago, the summer league softballs are larger and softer than traditional softball, so a glove isn't a must to protect your hands. Still, men can't wear them at all. I was told this was so there was a greater probability that men would drop the ball, "like women do." Are you kidding me?!

But truly the most annoying part is not perpetuated by the league, but by the players, who instantly revert back to playground stupidity as soon as they take the field. "Easy out!" they cry when a woman takes the bat. "Everyone move up!" Despite the fact that the other team was batting, I swelled with pride when a woman knocked one clean over the heads of the guys in center field and had a triple as a result. Easy out, indeed.

Still, it's a fun game and I try not to bristle too much at the stupid rules and attitudes of some of the other players. There will always be those women who are not "easy outs," and those men who are. And I never dropped a ball, even though I have two X chromosomes. Perhaps they should make me take off my glove to even things out a bit.

No comments: