Chelsea Baker: 13-year-old Role Model
I remember one day in 5th grade during P.E. class, a particularly douchey male classmate of mine turned to me completely unsolicited and said, "Boys are better than girls at sports, you know." Now, if this had happened today, you better believe I would have smacked the dodgeball or whiffle ball or whatever sports accessory I may have been holding at the time into his righteous face (just kidding, violence is bad). But I was ten, and even though his statement didn't seem true to me I just let him get away with it. I mean I personally fail miserably at sports, but that's due to complete indifference and laziness, neither of which I attribute to my gender or even physical ability. And now that I think about it, this kid wasn't exactly an athletic prodigy himself. But maybe if I Chelsea Baker had been around then to look up to I would have rolled my eyes and told him off.
13-year-old Chelsea Baker was recently recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame for pitching two perfect games - something that is apparently a very notable accomplishment in the realm of baseball. And she did it playing against boys in Little League. Not only is this awesome for the obvious reason that it's making America question our perceptions of gender norms, especially when it comes to girls and physical ability, but I think it's great that she felt assertive enough to play with the boys in the first place. While Chelsea is clearly incredibly talented, who knows how many girls out there who love baseball, or other sports for that matter, feel held back from joining the boys (and beating them) because of their gender?
Playing sports has actually been proven to be incredibly beneficial for girls on many levels, including promoting higher self esteem, lower prevalence of sexual risk-taking behavior, and camaraderie and teamwork amongst girls. As Chelsea Baker herself said, "When I strike them (boys) out with the knuckleball, sometimes they'll throw their helmets and start crying. It's just really funny to watch." How's that for self-esteem? Plus, those boys seem like they need to be taught that they're on equal grounds with girls: being defeated by one shouldn't be any less honorable than being defeated by a guy.
So, Chelsea, the FBomb salutes you for being a fantastic role model and showing America that girls CAN play sports.
Hear Chelsea tell her story below in a (slightly condescending on the part of the correspondent) CNN interview:
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