“A Game of Their Own: Voices of Contemporary Women in Baseball” by Jennifer Ring
Baseball, history women
April 1, 2015
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
In 2010, Japan defeated Australia 13-3 in the championship game of the Women’s World Baseball Cup. If you don’t remember anything about that tourney or know the names of any players, including the team from the United States, you are not alone. Women’s baseball has not been as publicized as much as a small fraction of the men’s game. This doesn’t mean that there are not female baseball players, and the stories of eleven members of the US squad are captured in this excellent book by Jennifer Ring.
Ring tells the story of each player, one of which was her daughter, on a team that was largely ignored by the press. Compounding the issue is something that each woman faced while pursuing their athletic dreams – they were told that baseball wasn’t the proper game for them to play, instead they should play softball. Ring’s writing beautifully illustrates the determination of these young women saying “no” to this belief and instead continuing on with their baseball careers.
No matter which player is telling her story, the reader will be captivated by their grit and persistence. The reader will also learn about the systemic exclusion of girls and women in baseball and why the belief that softball is an “equal” sport is wrong on so many levels. It should be also mentioned that many of these players were excellent at the game, that many of them played with males in high school and college and more than held their own. The extra pressure many of them were under because they had to “prove” themselves will also be felt by readers as well.
More than just the content or message, what I really believe makes this book very good is Ring’s writing. Her style captures the emotions and heart of each player instead of just reporting on what they did on the field. If nothing else, for that reason alone everyone who reads baseball books should add this one to their libraries.
I wish to thank University of Nebraska Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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