Softball . . . Theres nothing soft about it.

My name is Stephanie-Ann and I am a 4th year Communications Major and Film Studies Minor in Muir College. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. I have never been interested in watching/listening to sports, but have always loved attending games and participating in any sport that I can. In the trunk of my car, I always have a football, basketball, gloves and softballs if I ever have the opportunity to join a game or free time to play.

From the age of four, I was a competitive cheerleader and a softball player. Participating in these two sports was always a balancing act because of the animosity between the two teams. Not only do female athletes participate in a continual fight for acceptance against men, various women’s sports also compete against one another to gain the acceptance from the sport media outlets as being competitive and athletic enough. While both cheerleading and softball have a lot of broader similarities, they are depicted on opposite ends of the spectrum. This is an issue that I dealt with for the majority of my life, and why the topic of this class seemed so interesting to me.

I had a lot of difficulty deciding between the two sports because I have an emotional attachment to both. Although I participated in the two sports, I tended to be better at cheerleading and cheered at UCSD until my sophomore year, but had to quit due to injuries. While I pursued cheerleading, my sister played collegiate softball. Because of this, I got the opportunity to be a spectator, which allowed me to analyze the game from a different perspective. Because of this and my absence from the game for a couple of years, I want to further research softball. Softball also interests me because of the male version, baseball. While these two sports are basically the same, one sport is given more attention in society. The two sports are compared all the time, and generalizations are made to put one on a higher pedestal than the other. Because of this, professional female softball players do not even earn enough money to make a living and are required to have full-time jobs, while professional male baseball players contracts salaries do not have caps, making them more outrageous every year.

While engaging in the sport, softball players are not only playing to win, but also have to prove their legitimacy against other females as well as there male counterparts. Softball is just another sport on the spectrum which is not any easier or more difficult than Cheerleading or Baseball.

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One Response to Softball . . . Theres nothing soft about it.

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    I’d enjoy hearing more about how you are imagining this “spectrum.” It will be a productive practice in this class to work on fleshing out this idea, and understanding the many complex factors that differentiate the cultures and associations of sport. Softball is a great case study, and I look forward to your work!

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