The most interesting thing about Mo’ne Davis capturing the country’s attention during the Little League World Series was not that she was a young girl striking out boys in a sport usually dominated by males, although that was pretty remarkable to see.
What really was almost stunning was that her performances were so dynamic and her personality so engaging that men and boys rooted for her. That’s a big deal.
Chauvinism is alive and well in America, like racism, and not just in corporate boardrooms.
Men would rather see males play sports, as if the playing fields or courts are no place for females. Of course, not all men feel this way. Many men support their daughters, take them to practice, work with them on the courts, cheer them on at games. Some of those same men cannot bear to endure watching females who are not personally connected to them.
Indeed, there is significant faction of males who would rather sit through a soap opera over watching females compete in athletic endeavors. This was heard on a sports talk radio show: “I’d rather watch someone recite the roster of the Dallas Cowboys than watch a WNBA game.”
Really? If you’re a basketball fan, why wouldn’t you appreciate the grace and skill of Maya Moore of the Minnesota franchise or Candace Parker of the LA Sparks or Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream—all immensely talented and engaging players?
Davis, 13, was able to force the chauvinist to reject his prejudices and sit down and watch her. And root for her. She was that good, a girl throwing smoke past boys who became less and less embarrassed when she struck them out because many of their teammates faced the same fate.
That’s why she was named the Associated Press’s Female Athlete of the Year on Monday, an acknowledgement that goes nicely with the Sports Illustrated Kid of the Year honor she received earlier this month.
It has been a head-spinning time for the young lady from Chicago. Since she became the first female to throw a shutout in Little League World Series history, she met President Obama, worked under Spike Lee for commercial, threw out the first pitch of a Los Angeles Dodgers game (a strike, of course), made the cover of Sports Illustrated and was named one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential teens of 2014. She also has a memoir in the works; look out for it in 2015.
Heady stuff for a cute teenager who beat out Lauren Hill, a freshman basketball player at Mt. St. Joseph who played while battling terminal brain cancer, and three-time winner and tennis superstar Serena Williams.
Interesting that she would beat Williams for the award, as she is another female athlete that breaks through chauvinism and forces men to watch. For many men, it’s about athleticism and speed, and if the athlete is not dunking or fashioning an amazing athletic feat, their interest is not captured.
For Davis to do so, at such a young age, says a lot about how spectacular she was. She smiled as she delivered a fastball that traveled as fast as 70 miles per hour that some of baseball’s best young talent could not handle. And get this: Basketball may be her best sport.