a-league-of-their-ownBy Claire Miller

The first organized sport my parents signed me up for was Little League softball. I still remember my first game playing for the Reds with a proud No. 7 on my back. At my first at-bat, my coach tossed a rainbow slow-pitch from roughly 10 feet away, and I blasted it down the third base line for a stand-up triple. Instantly, I was hooked.

Later in the season, I went over to a teammate’s house for a playdate. Given we weren’t typical “girly girls,” playing with dolls was not our idea of fun. Instead, she popped in her favorite movie on girls playing baseball, “A League of Their Own.” Instantly, I was hooked.

Right off the bat, I identified with Kit and her young, tenacious spirit. She did everything in her willpower to land a tryout and then some to earn a spot on the Rockford Peaches. I emulated the same mentality as I learned of this concept called “All-Stars.” I would stop at nothing to make it onto the team.

As my playing years continued, I met girls who felt the same way that I did about “A League of Their Own.” We associated ourselves so strongly with the film because it celebrated women playing the sport we all loved and at the professional level. In some sense, it represented a dream team that we all wished we could play for. We would shout out quotes during practices, sing the theme song on bus trips to away games and pick out who was who in the cast. There weren’t any other movies out at the time that highlighted female athletes, and as great as the other baseball films were, the main characters were all men.

Growing older and watching the film over and over again, I realized that the blockbuster was not just about girls playing baseball but represented an array of underlying themes. It showcased camaraderie and competition, falling in love and losing the one you love, breaking down gender barriers and building up hope for future generations. Each time I watch, I see something in the film I didn’t notice the first time, while simultaneously anticipating my favorite scenes and jokes.

Even though my softball days are over, I still enjoy “A League of Their Own” just as much today as I did as a young girl. When I learned earlier this season we were showing the film after tonight’s game as part of the Dodger Stadium Movie Series, I immediately wanted to pop it in the DVD player the second I got home. It really never gets old. I mean, what can I say? I’m hooked.