Guest Post: Celebrating Women in Baseball

I’m sorry I’ve been away for a while (I’ll explain later maybe). But enough about me – today I’d like to introduce Britt Skrabanek, a great friend who writes great novels about bold, sassy female characters through history. Please welcome her here for this guest post celebrating women in baseball in time for National Women in Baseball Day. If you have spring or baseball fever after reading this, remember to check out her novels, including Nola Fran Evie. Take it away Britt…

There’s something so classically American about baseball, isn’t there? This is the time of the year when we all get that urge to attend a game, smell the fresh grass, eat gooey popcorn, and cheer on our team with a bunch of sweaty strangers in the hot baseball stands.

With all of the technology distractions at our fingertips, perhaps more than ever we feel this urge for simplicity. We want to remember slower times, remember what it felt like to experience real life in front of us – rather than living life through a smartphone screen.

I still remember going to baseball games with my dad like they happened yesterday. Somehow those memories are more vivid than things that happened to me a week ago.

On May 30, 1943 the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) made history. For the first time, women played professional baseball together. Today, 76 years later, the AAGPBL celebrates these women with National Women in Baseball Day on May 30.

When the league began, it was considered a girly spectacle. Women playing sports was practically taboo. Many of the seats were empty and some people who attended laughed at the female ball players. The women played on and proved them all wrong. Women were, in fact, cut out for this. They could be sporty and strong, they could leave the kitchen and take on the roles of men.

Five years later by the league’s peak year of 1948, they had 910,000 paying fans. And though the AAGPBL disbanded in 1954, these women changed history, opening the door to strides in feminism that still hold today.

Like many people, both old and young, I became fascinated by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League after seeing A League of Their Own. I had a fortunate upbringing as my dad encouraged me to be active. He used to race me to the car in the garage from our apartment or we would play catch in the doctor’s office with his keys.

Dad always told me I was just as good as the boys and he kept me enrolled in various sports and dance programs. When he took me to see A League of Their Own in the theater in 1992, I was enthralled. These women made such an impact on me, but I never knew they would continue to be influential as our lives became intertwined 20 years later.

Quite randomly, a vintage handbag I purchased in 2012 turned into a treasure trove of historical fiction inspiration. I discovered a pair of baseball tickets from 1954, along with a voting receipt that had a shopping list written in a woman’s handwriting on the back. The women’s league folded that same year, so it was a serendipitous discovery that led me to write my third novel, Nola Fran Evie.

In this novel, I share the stories of three women who played in the league together and what happened to their lives afterward during the 1950s. Because of their role during WWII, their life paths were permanently altered. These women didn’t all want to go quietly…they wanted more out of life.

There is still something to be in awe about 76 years later. And, it’s important for us to remember these women and celebrate their strength alongside the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, an organization which is still alive and well.

#WomeninBaseballDay is the perfect chance to show your support and it happens on May 30.

According to the AAGPBL’s Facebook page event:

“National Women in Baseball Day is a social media driven event that encourages MLB, MiLB, Women’s baseball organizations, softball teams, and anyone who supports women in baseball to get a group photo together forming a “V”. The “V” formation pays homage to the shape the AAGPBL teams would take during the pre-game National Anthem to stand together for “victory”.

If unable to form a group photo, participants are encouraged to share photos of themselves or female family members playing baseball, as well as sporting their favorite women’s baseball organization/team apparel. Women that have a role in a professional baseball organization are also encouraged to share their stories/photos.”

…if you want to show your support for women in baseball, I recommend joining in the social media festivities on May 30 by using or following #WomenInBaseballDay. These women did a lot for us and they should be celebrated.

Thank you Britt! Remember to check out her books and follow her through these links:

Amazon Nola Fran Evie:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794684077/

Website / Social:

https://brittskrabanek.com/

https://brittskrabanek.com/blog/

https://twitter.com/BrittSkrabanek

https://www.instagram.com/bskrabanek/

https://www.facebook.com/BrittSkrabanek/

https://www.goodreads.com/brittskrabanek

Versions of the Self

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’d like to share this amazing book by Christy Birmingham with you. I highly recommend it to men and women, to people who love to read poetry and to people who have never read poetry. To everyone who has ever been filled with doubts or regrets, love and joy.

The poems found in Versions of the Self resonated with me when I read them, and they’re still resonating. There are so many feelings that can be found here, so many relationships, so many selves.

I loved the poems that celebrated freedom and could at times feel my soul soaring along with the words. Then different poems made me stop and think while bringing me back to Earth.

The poem, “Within a Few Feet,” shows the regrets that hold us back and keep us earthbound, all while freedom is only a few feet away in the form of seagulls tempting the author to fly.

Some poems show the gradual process of healing before being able to move on, then we come to, “Made to Write,” where the writer discovers her purpose and “I Stand Here,” showing her growing confidence with this last stanza: “I stand alive,/Healthy and complete, as/My branches extend into fresh air around me.”

We also see the joy of new love and the fear of that love diminishing or disappearing. Questions and disappointments surface, but then there’s always that chance for freedom and soaring again. “You, Colors, and Realization” shows this perfectly after stating “You were once a masterpiece”:

“Today, your colors fall to a wooden floor,/While I run a paintbrush under the kitchen tap/To clean the bristles and/Paint a new day,/Made of colors that I alone choose.”

Anyone who has ever had doubts while in a relationship, and I’m guessing that’s everyone, will find themselves here. Times of insecurity and despair combine with a blooming confidence and an ecstasy for life, giving the reader an overall feeling of positive energy and tingling inspiration.

We see the friendships we form with different people, how we push each other, help each other, inspire each other, and push each other away.

The theme of freedom floats through the pages, and it’s not always meant as freedom from a particular relationship. There’s a stronger sense of freedom from fear, freedom from anything holding you back from what you’re meant to do.

We see this in “Flight Path” with these lines: “You are more than your drenched feathers…You are meant to fly, I know you can, and/It is the moment when you turn can into will/That I will savor the most.”

With all of these poems and inspiring words, we see the bravery it takes to step forward into each day and the exhilaration that’s felt when we leave our fear behind. Everyone who reads this collection will see different versions of herself or himself, the effects we have on each other, and all the energy that can be felt when we find a way to be true to ourselves.

Happy International Women’s Day – and thank you to Christy for your inspirational poems!

How will you be celebrating International Women’s Day?