A Little F'd Up | Posted by Julie Z on 08/25/2010

Chelsea Baker: 13-year-old Role Model

Chelsea Baker

Chelsea Baker

I remember one day in 5th grade during P.E. class, a particularly douchey male classmate of mine turned to me completely unsolicited and said, “Boys are better than girls at sports, you know.” Now, if this had happened today, you better believe I would have smacked the dodgeball or whiffle ball or whatever sports accessory I may have been holding at the time into his righteous face (just kidding, violence is bad). But I was ten, and even though his statement didn’t seem true to me I just let him get away with it. I mean I personally fail miserably at sports, but that’s due to complete indifference and laziness, neither of which I attribute to my gender or even physical ability. And now that I think about it, this kid wasn’t exactly an athletic prodigy himself. But maybe if I Chelsea Baker had been around then to look up to I would have rolled my eyes and told him off.

13-year-old Chelsea Baker was recently recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame for pitching two perfect games – something that is apparently a very notable accomplishment in the realm of baseball. And she did it playing against boys in Little League. Not only is this awesome for the obvious reason that it’s making America question our perceptions of gender norms, especially when it comes to girls and physical ability, but I think it’s great that she felt assertive enough to play with the boys in the first place. While Chelsea is clearly incredibly talented, who knows how many girls out there who love baseball, or other sports for that matter, feel held back from joining the boys (and beating them) because of their gender?

Chelsea with her teammates

Chelsea with her teammates

Playing sports has actually been proven to be incredibly beneficial for girls on many levels, including promoting higher self esteem, lower prevalence of sexual risk-taking behavior, and camaraderie and teamwork amongst girls. As Chelsea Baker herself said, “When I strike them (boys) out with the knuckleball, sometimes they’ll throw their helmets and start crying. It’s just really funny to watch.” How’s that for self-esteem? Plus, those boys seem like they need to be taught that they’re on equal grounds with girls: being defeated by one shouldn’t be any less honorable than being defeated by a guy.

So, Chelsea, the FBomb salutes you for being a fantastic role model and showing America that girls CAN play sports.

Hear Chelsea tell her story below in a (slightly condescending on the part of the correspondent) CNN interview:

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  • Katherine C. @ at 9:44 pm, August 25th, 2010

    whoo hoo, you go, girl! Thanks, Julie, for posting this inspirational nugget!

  • Natalia @ at 6:25 pm, August 26th, 2010

    Now that´s the kind of empoweremnt girls and women need to look for! Not the kind of “empowerement” they get from flashing their boobs during spring break or appearing on girls gone wild.

  • blakerivers @ at 12:57 am, August 27th, 2010

    -Natalia: Thank you kindly.

    Julie Z: “Playing sports has actually been proven to be incredibly beneficial for girls on many levels, including promoting higher self esteem, lower prevalence of sexual risk-taking behavior, and camaraderie and teamwork amongst girls.”

    Any positive impact sports has for males will also apply to females, so this really shouldn’t be surprising. Abundant amounts of physical stress can actually lead to increased musculature (big surprise!) and God forbid that a woman should have muscles! It might usurp beauty standards…woe the day!!!

    As of 2010, there’s no reason to believe that women cannot or should not excel just as much as men in certain sports. But of course, nobody besides me seems to believe this.

  • Christina @ at 8:18 pm, September 6th, 2010

    Well of course she beat boys. She’s 13. Since girls develop faster, give it one more year, and she wouldn’t even come close to pitching a perfect game. Quite the opposite, more than likely!

    I’m a girl, and even I know this!

    Stop living in a fantasy world, people!

  • Layla @ at 11:06 pm, September 24th, 2010

    @Christina – We’re not living in a fantasy world, we’re interested in an article where a female is clearly capable of setting her mind to complete a hard task.
    Besides, not every girl has pitched a perfect game, so how would you know she would suck like any other untrained female?

  • James Mason @ at 10:25 pm, November 21st, 2010

    Chelsea I think you are a great inspiration to a lot of kids. Keep up the hard work.

  • Brett @ at 1:05 pm, May 17th, 2011

    I don’t mean to detract from this girl’s amazing achievement or from the awesomeness that she was able to do this. It’s absolutely amazing for someone to pitch a perfect game in competition and she deserves every laud afforded to her.

    Can I ask where, aside from the author’s anecdote in the beginning of the article, does it suggest that the boys are treating her differently? How do you know that they wouldn’t pitch a fit after being stricken out by another boy, especially if the game was important and you kept on seeing your teammates strike out again and again.

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