Something familiar today, something new.
It’s a good thing to have a touch of the familiar in a vacation; it helps put the new sights, sounds, and tastes into perspective. When The Knucklehead and I spent a week in LA ten years ago, I scoffed at the Denny’s attached to our motel. I wasn’t scoffing a few days later when a familiar dinner of comfort food was just the break we needed.
Today, we’re going to the movies, a noon matinee. The astute reader may remark here that we already went to the movies this week on Sunday night, to see Ant-Man, and the astute reader would be correct. Surely we’re going to seek out a little-known filmspace for something in the independent or foreign-language genre? Something unavailable to us back in the sticks?
We’re going to see the new Mission: Impossible movie, and we’re going straight back to the Cinerama where we saw Ant-Man.
You’re groaning. I can hear it. But there are three things you need to keep in mind right now. First, is that we’ve done a ton of walking over the past week, and we’re both (me especially) overdue for sitting on our butts for a couple hours. Second, The Knucklehead and I both essentially stopped maturing at age 14, so we eat up summer blockbusters with a spoon and big ole bibs stuffed down our shirt fronts. Finally, I was wrong when I thought the Cinerama would be a funky downtown theater.
Cinerama is the greatest movie theater in the known universe.
It’s not “small” or “funky”; it’s big and bad and you and I are not worthy. Laser projection, with capability for 35mm, 70mm, and Cinemascope. Full-on Dolby, and they’ll probably drop a speaker in your lap if you’re not careful. Captain-Kirk-on-the-bridge-of-the-Enterprise seating. And, oh, yes. A 97-foot screen, bitches.
Local beer on tap in the concession booth. Great popcorn, including chocolate popcorn, which is actually not bad (Knucks tried it on Sunday). Other gourmet concessions, but they had me at “local beer and popcorn” so, whatever.
There is no general admission. When you buy tickets, you pick out your seats. The Knucklehead and I picked out our seats online early, when we practically had first dibs. J-14 and J-15 for us today. Thank you very much; we’re good here.
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This evening a new experience… sort of.
In a previous post, I wrote about how unfair I thought it was that women in this country don’t have the opportunity to play baseball after Little League – and that’s even if the local Little League allows girls to play (I know, I know, they’re all supposed to, but I don’t ever remember seeing a girl play in – for example- my hometown Little League). In a baseball Facebook group I belong to, one of the members posted a link to a new book; A Game of Their Own: Voices of Contemporary Women in Baseball by Jennifer Ring. It’s a series of interviews with members of the USA Baseball Women’s National Team. You didn’t know there was a USA Baseball Women’s National Team? You’re not alone. After reading the book, I found out in the index there’s a women’s baseball team that plays right here in Seattle; The Seattle Diamonds. They play in Kent, just outside the city. So far, none of the locals I’d mentioned it to have heard of them, either. It took a few clicks to find a schedule, but there’s a game tonight, just an Uber ride away. I couldn’t believe our luck. Exactly the kind of thing the true baseball would seek out, especially the fan hungry to see baseball’s better side.
Reading the book was an eye-opening experience. These are women who respect the game of softball, respect softball’s athletes, yet understand that softball is not the sport they love. They want – all they want – is to play baseball. Listen to Donna Mills, an outstanding softball player, who fought for her spot on the WNT:
“I was forced away from my love simply because I was a little girl… it broke my heart… My true love is baseball. I can’t live without it. It’s what drives me. The vehicle to express myself. my stage to perform. It’s what I’m most passionate about in my life.”
At a ceremony in which her softball achievements were being celebrated, why did she give a speech about baseball?
“I wanted to talk about my love, and that was my love. It was, you know, everything. It was baseball. It was baseball. It was baseball. I couldn’t talk about softball like that because the love wasn’t there.”
What was even more eye-opening to me was the discussion thread under the link that led me to this book, keeping mind that this was a closed group of fans dedicated to the history of baseball. There was a lot of support for girls’ and women’s baseball, and I was cheered by that, and the awareness raised. But in the past few years, I’ve learned more about white privilege and heterosexual privilege than I’ve learned in the previous fifty, and so the male privilege was unmistakable.
One commentator, no matter what arguments were offered, stuck to one talking point alone: There is no discrimination against girls. There’s no law against them playing baseball. They are free to form their own league.
Really? Is that what we tell our boys? “Go form your own league”? No. We form it for them. We organize it, find playing fields, set up teams, tryouts, and practices. We volunteer our time as coaches, drivers, cooks, and supporters. In some cases we provide municipal support in the form of land or tax dollars. We buy them uniforms and equipment. We handle the schedules, provide umpires, organize all-star teams. We adults handle all of this stuff so that our boys are free to just practice and play baseball. We do this past Little League into Senior League, through high school and college. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But if you’re going to do all that for your boys, and then tell your girls, “Go form your own league,” you can’t pretend you’re offering anything close to equal access to baseball. Not to mention the fact that girls are getting kicked out of baseball right around the time they’re struggling with adolescence, including the need to fit in. Our boys don’t have to take on the mantle of pioneers, standing up to the gender norms in their communities and the adults who hold them, just so they can play a sport they love. Why should girls?
So tonight, we’re going to join some other true fans of the game at the Kent Memorial Park, and see the Colt .45s take on the Seattle Diamondbacks. We’re going to see some women play who love the game so much, they found a way to play despite all the obstacles, no matter how long it took them. I think that will make for some pretty good baseball.
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It’s our last full day in Seattle. Tomorrow morning we get on a plane for back east. I’ll try to sign off at our layover in Chicago, if the airport has free wifi. I’ve loved this vacation. It’s turned out exactly to be what I hoped it would be, and even a little bit more. Thanks for joining us.