You had to have been living under a rock to have not heard about the female sensation of Mo’Ne Davis this summer. She exerted dominance from the pitcher’s mound this summer in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She lead her team from Philadelphia deep into the tournament. She appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated seemingly overnight and was the youngest person in the history of the magazine to do so. Her amazing performance inspired and astonished girls around the country.
What made Mo’Ne Davis such a remarkable story was the fact that she was a girl who was unstoppable even to boys! If a boy with Mo’Ne’s talent had been the ace for the team from Philadelphia, there is no way he would’ve been on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Mika LeVaque-Manty in “Being a Woman and Other Disabilities,” specifically references the disadvantages of being a female in sports. He, when discussing Title IX, states, “…women’s athletic performance ‘simply’ is less impressive than men’s, this demand for equality amounts to dumbing down of sports.” He then goes on to say, “In September 2000, former tennis star John McEnroe went on record disparaging the women’s tennis phenomenon the Williams sisters as being merely equal to mediocre male players, to ‘good college athletes.'” Now let me be clear and say I completely disagree with McEnroe on this front…. I mean, have you seen Serena play lately?! She definitely could compete with many premier men’s tennis players.
What makes Mo’Ne Davis such a national sensation is that she disproved many people’s beliefs that no girl could play in a league full of boys. And not only did she play, she dominated. This broke down the gender ideology held by much of the American population regarding females in sports. Gender Ideology refers to “attitudes regarding the appropriate roles, rights, and responsibilities of women and men in society.” It is gender ideology which caused the creation of saying “you throw like a girl!” Well if you throw like Mo’Ne, you have a heck of an arm. Will Femia of MSNBC in his article “How Fast is Mo’Ne Davis fast?” writes, “a 71 mph Mo’ne Davis Little League fastball is the equivalent of a 93 mph MLB fastball in terms of how much reaction time the batter has before he (or she) whiffs it.” Now THAT is impressive.
Mo’Ne Davis’ actions at the Little League World Series this past summer will inspire young girls around the nation to break gender ideology. If she feels she is able (which is more likely after Mo’Ne Davis’ performance), a girl should switch from the all-girls league over to playing with boys. The most outstanding girls will be inclined to switch, however the vast majority of average players will not. This aligns with LeVaque-Manty’s mention of “Clydesdale leagues“, divisions where runners are all of a certain, above-average, weight. This evens the playing field and makes it more fair for all participants. By no means am I saying there shouldn’t be separate leagues for men and women. There should be because they pose a more equal level of competition for both separate parties. It can not be disputed that men’s sports are played at a higher athletic level than women’s, but what can be disputed is whether or not the most athletic women should play with the men. After what Mo’Ne Davis’ accomplishments showed the country this summer, I think they should.