Feel Good Story of the Day

Thought we’d give y’all a little feel good story for the end of the week. Mackenzie Brown was the first female in Bayonne, NJ Little League to throw a perfect game – and against a team of all boys, no less.

She’ll get to throw out the first pitch at Citifield (the new baseball field home to the New York Mets that all of my sports fan friends are having a complete fit over) tomorrow when the Mets play the Washington Nationals.
Awesome.
*Also covered by community poster limasbravo!

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34 Comments

  1. hoolissa
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    o yay! that’s awesome!

  2. theawakening
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to Mackenzie! But, isn’t it a little inconsistent to emphasize that the team she was pitching against was composed entirely of boys? After all, the “news” is that a girl/woman can be just as athletically accomplished as a boy/man. So, shouldn’t it be inconsequential that she was pitching against only boys? Would it have cheapened her accomplishment if there was a girl on the other team?
    I guess this begs a larger question: When is it ok to rely on a stereotype in order to attempt to break a stereotype? Thoughts?

  3. cocolamala
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    remember that girl who played basketball on her school’s boys team, who dominated other boys on the court? and the response was that she shouldn’t be allowed to play on the team because it was demoralizing for the boys?
    http://deadspin.com/5048962/twelve+year+old-girl-kicked-off-boys-basketball-team-for-being-too-good

  4. cocolamala
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    turns out, after getting a lawyer, she’ll be allowed to play after all…
    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/09/beavertons_jaime_nared_given_o.html

  5. Undune
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    That was the first thing that popped into my head too. A qualifying statement like that seems to celebrate the occasion more than the athlete. Regardless, good for her!

  6. Brad
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Ha. Don’t know if you Vanessa or I posted first, but we both had the same post idea. :)

  7. Mollie
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    The comments on that story in your link are disgusting! Some people love to hide behind the internet names to dish out their most offensive thoughts. Ugh

  8. stuffqueerpeopleneedtoknow.wordpress.com
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    This is great, but it reminds me of all of the sexism I edit out of the paper. Someone wrote an article about a women’s basketball team that was “so good they would give a few guys teams a run for their money.” Clearly this isn’t okay. I went to the sports desk and explained this to them, and they were like “yeh, okay.” I have had to do this with LGBT stories too. People don’t even realize that it is offensive.
    http://stuffqueerpeopleneedtoknow.wordpress.com/

  9. ruthieoo
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    You know what, I’m going to withhold my frustration towards the way the story was presented (ie: the shock in the announcers voice when saying “was composed entirely of boys”), and just say: Great Job Mackenzie! No matter what, she was the first, and that deserves some celebration!

  10. norbizness
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I would encourage the Astros to sign her, as our starting pitching is ass this year.

  11. Undune
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I totally didn’t fully read the question at the bottom.
    I don’t think that it’s ever ok to utilize stereotypes to combat stereotypes, because that just reinforces it. Take this article for example. The fact that this girl pitched a perfect game against a team that was exclusively boys is noteworthy on two counts:
    1) She pitched a perfect game;
    2) The feat was accomplished against a team of boys (suggesting no weak links?);
    3) She is a girl (suggesting that she is a weak link?);
    Therefore: She is a great player because she pitched a perfect game despite two handicaps.
    As such, I don’t see any stereotype being broken, because we feel compelled to comment on the situation as something that is peculiar/abnormal. In an ideal situation, the focus would have been, “Athlete pitches perfect game”. The adjective of girl would be unnecessary, because it should be obvious that on this site major achievements like that are going to probably be focused on a female heroine.
    Now, as for the general media, the issue of noting that the player’s a girl is kind of a different matter. On one hand, the story is going to be reported. After all, pitching a perfect game is inherently something uncommon, and very much worthy of admiration. The fact that she’s a girl could be mentioned to raise awareness that there are pretty much no differences between the sexes. Still, even in that case I would find it unnecessary to focus on the fact that she’s a girl. It would simply be better to post a picture, have her name, and let people react and not try to guide their thoughts. I think that this would be the best way to not only break the stereotype and normalize girls/women sports.
    That all said, I can see why someone would want to mention that she’s a girl, but I feel that the “not” side has stronger backing.
    P.S: I’m sorry if there are grammatical/spelling errors, or weird breaks in logic. I’m trying to pound this out as quickly as I can while I’m eating lunch on a pretty tiny laptop.

  12. cutekotori
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    atta girl :) !

  13. Mollie
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I love this! I used to play little league on a baseball team of all boys, but I was never that good. My hope is that the boys on her team will now be able to say that, “yes, girls do play as well as boys, I knew this girl back in elementary school” (etc etc).
    About the basketball player, the 12 year old. The comments/”arguments” against letting her play are despicable. Living on feministing sometimes makes me forget how much we still have to accomplish, as a society as a whole.

  14. Karole
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    This is awesome, and why I love being from New Jersey :D The headline of the Star Ledger (NJ’s main newspaper) today read “Meet the Girl Who Beat the Boys”. The article online is more or less neutral though: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/bayonne_girls_perfect_game_gai.html

  15. kate
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    But there are biological differences between the sexes and women generally don’t compete on the same level. Not so much at 12, but certainly by 14. Women are short, fat, weak and slow relative to men. So to suggest that it’s remarkable that a female basketball team is good enough to beat a male team isn’t insulting. The fact hat Muggsy Bogues played in the NBA at 5’3″ is remarkable because he was so physically unsuited for it compared to his competitors. Same thing for women.

  16. cattrack
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    AWESOME!!!!! I LOOOVE THIS STORY!!!!!!

  17. Daniel Koffler
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Another feel good story:
    The overall best lifter at the British national powerlifting championships this past weekend was Mary Anderson, an 80 kg. master’s division (i.e. over 40 years old) lifter from Scotland who totaled 435 kg. (957 lbs.) in the three events of powerlifting (squat, bench, deadlift).
    Powerlifting uses a points formula to factor bodyweight and gender into one’s overall performance — hence, even though male lifters at 125 kg. bodyweight lifted more than she did in absolute terms, her performance was more impressive.

  18. Daniel Koffler
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Btw, feel free to cite this if you’re told that women can’t be strong.

  19. ronin
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Yay Mackenzie!

  20. bookwoman27
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    So awesome. This put a smile on my face. :)

  21. platon2043
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry but thats ridiculous. Extra points for gender? She wasnt the best lifter in her weight class, she doesnt deserve any award/prize.

  22. dangerfield
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Great… my Nats are going to get no-hit by a 12 year old tomorrow when the Mets decide to start her instead.

  23. dangerfield
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    My middle school football team was quarterbacked by a girl. They won the championship. It was pretty amazing, this was 10 years ago and its still talked about around town.
    Unfortunately, not everybody seemed to get the message. When we got to high school, the boys baseball team had a lighted, brick stadium while the girls softball field was just a dirt patch and a chain link fence stuck in a field…

  24. dangerfield
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    deadspin is the most intensely anti-feminist outlet in sports media. The comments on that post are nothing compared with their usual stream of breast photos and homophobic slurs. This past weekend they brought in a jezebel blogger as a guest editor, and, well, don’t read those comments unless you WANT a trigger…
    It really deserves a feminist fuck you on here one of these days.

  25. timothy_nakayama
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Is there a Baseball league in the US for women?
    I agree with the above posters. I feel that it is a bit sexist to mention that she was pitching against an all boy’s team. This carries with it the assumption that it was more of an achievement BECAUSE she was pitching against an an all boy’s team, as if her achievement would be less pitching against an all girl’s team, and thus carrying the assumption that men are better than women at sports, and that if a woman beats a man in sport, it’s something OH WOW SO NEWSWORTHY THAT WE HAVE TO MENTION THE MENZ…everytime news like that pops up, the sexist assumption that men are better at women in sports will always be right there, and thus, as the awakening said upthread – using a stereotype to break a stereotype.
    It always seems to be the case – like the girl who played better basketball than all the boys at her age, Michelle Wie joining the Men’s PGA, Danica in Indy, etc…all this make the sexist assumption that women are not as good in sports as men. The fact there is much attention on it means that most people seem to believe this stereotype. Remember how there was all the hoopla about women who has male chromosomes or other during the Beijing Olympics and how they tested women for this (because they believed it gave them an unfair advantage), but no one tested to see whether any men had female chromosomes?

  26. A male
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    What sort of acknowledgment are people looking for, for this athlete then, if we take away gender or the assumption that on average, for whatever reason including sexist policies, that women don’t compete alongside men in sports? She is the first girl to do it in her league, a league with only one other girl. That makes her achievement history making.
    Otherwise, another story
    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/bayonne_girls_perfect_game_gai.html
    reports that there are 50-60 no hitters each season in Little League. By that benchmark, even this great accomplishment is not history making, and would not be getting the same national attention or be covered here, if it had been a boy.

  27. A male
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    “yes, girls do play as well as boys, I knew this girl back in elementary school” (etc etc).
    I would love to see women alongside men without raised eyebrows and attracting no special attention (for simply being present) in physical and athletic endeavors as in education or in the workplace. Women as mainstream in the NFL, NBA and MLB, as surely as they are in US universities as students.
    Unfortunately, in this athlete’s case, “I knew this girl back in elementary school” is how it may end – she plans to quit playing baseball this year, for softball or (girls’?) basketball.
    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/bayonne_girls_perfect_game_gai.html
    How will her skills develop as she grows? Will she be a history making woman who can excel at “men’s” college baseball or even go pro? Could she inspire generations of others? We may never know.

  28. A male
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    I agree extra points for gender, is a poor way to put it. One would hope that scoring is for e.g., lean muscle mass ratio or bodyweight to weight lifted. That would make the same achievement more remarkable for one person over another and deserving of attention.

  29. Daniel Koffler
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    There are separate weight classes for men and women. A strict bodyweight-to-weight-lifted assignment of points is intuitive but it doesn’t work because there are diminishing marginal returns on strength added per kilo of bodyweight added. So the sport uses a complicated formula called the Wilks to normalize for about 5 different factors.
    In practice, you get results like a 90 k lifter totalling (let’s say) 5x his/her bodyweight scoring fewer Wilks points than a 100 k lifter totalling 4.5x his/her bodyweight.

  30. Daniel Koffler
    Posted April 25, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Or put it another way: do you think the sport of powerlifting deliberately uses a scoring system that gives women an unfair advantage?

  31. A male
    Posted April 26, 2009 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    It was you who stated “gender” was a factor in scoring.
    Yes, I would see that as a problem. Should I get extra points as a nurse because I’m a man? Because I started out at 39? Because I’m married with two kids? Or should I be judged on how I am and what I do?

  32. A male
    Posted April 26, 2009 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Also, I don’t like separate divisions in athletic or physical endeavors for men and women, any more than I like segregated schools or workplaces. When I state here (as in previous threads on sports) that I’d like to see women alongside men, and doing just as well or better, I mean it. Even in the NFL. Even in the octagon. Even in professional boxing. Some posters object to saying the young pitcher achieved against a team of all boys as if having female opponents or being female in itself tainted the achievement. That shouldn’t be an issue.

  33. A male
    Posted April 26, 2009 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Odd. I can’t see my original reply.
    Anyway. It was you who stated gender itself (vs. say, testosterone levels) factored into scoring. That is odd.
    Should I receive special consideration as a nurse because I am a male? Because I went back to school and started out at 39? Because I am married with two children? Or should I be judged on who I am and what I do?
    “He’s so good with the patients!”
    “Yes, and he’s a man!”
    “He caught that code blue just in time!”
    “Yes, and he’s the first man in the department who’s done it!”
    How does that sound to you?

  34. CaroJ
    Posted April 26, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    “Women are short, fat, weak and slow relative to men.”
    Wow. You forgot to mention dumb and emotional in your comparison.

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