Usually when I write things, I double dip. I use my monthly newsletter as my article for Softball Magazine. Sometimes those articles are in turn published in NFCA “Fastpitch Delivery”.
For those unfamiliar, the NFCA stands for “National Fastpitch Coaches Association”. I’ve had a few articles printed in their monthly paper but, I’m willing to give odds that this one won’t make the cut. This will get left right on the editor’s floor. Why? Because in my usual fashion, I’m going to talk about the elephant in the room that people are trying to ignore.
When I picked up this month’s issue of the Fastpitch Delivery, and I opened to page 16.. I was stunned to read the headline. “The Bush Administration’s attack on Title IX”. Now, if you’ve lived under a rock for the last 30 years… Title IX is a federal law. In effect, it means that sports and other things need to be equal for both genders. That’s a layman’s definition but, it’s somewhat accurate. In sports, Title IX has come to mean that men and women should have equal opportunities. But, in softball terms… it seems the masses don’t want equality. They want dominance.
When I read the column written by Ms. Rayla Allison in Fastpitch Delivery, I couldn’t stop shaking my head. It amazes me how many double standards there are in this game of softball that nobody wants to discuss. I’m not talking about the double standards on the field, like: Why is it a baseball pitcher can get 21 ground ball outs and be considered a success but in many circles, if a softball pitcher gets 21 outs without 14 being strikeouts… people think the pitcher didn’t do well? Doesn’t that seem odd?
I think the NFCA should change their name. It should be the NWFCA. National WOMEN’s Fastpitch Coaches Association. Because this newspaper COMPLETELY disregards the other gender’s particiapation in the sport. Yet, the irony of all ironies is… more and more guys like myself (former or current US Men’s National team players) are becoming Division 1 College coaches. Shawn Rychcik (Boston U), Kyle Magnusson (Utah), Ehren Earlywhine (Georgia Tech), John Bargefeldt (Tulsa), Ken Eriksen (South Florida), Mike White (formerly at Oregeon), Mike Larabee (Wright State), etc. These guys weren’t just beer league players… they were/are WORLD CLASS! These guys are a far cry from the average college coach who “played in college” so they have experience in the game.
If everyone believes Title IX is a great thing then let me ask a question: Would it be ok with you if a male played college softball? Afterall, softball is not offered as a sport for males right. And we ALL agree that softball is VERY different from baseball, right? So, why not? What if I would’ve attempted to play softball at the college level? Would I have been allowed? If not, then why are women allowed to play on the male football teams? Or the wrestling teams? Now, we probably all remember that pack of idiots in Arizona several years back. You know, the group of boys who played in a girls little league softball tournament…. remember that? Obviously, those kids did it as a political statement and had NO passion for the game of softball. They just wanted to be jerks. But, what about me? I’ve never played baseball in my life! What if I would’ve called Mike Candrea in 1990, my senior year, and said “Hey Mike… I’m either going to pitch Internationally in New Zealand this year or I can come play for you.” What would his response have been? What would the response of the nation been?
The reality is, NFCA isn’t really about fastpitch as much as it’s about women’s fastpitch. There are so many people who claim to love this game that have no idea about the “other side”. Many think men’s softball is King and His Court, the 4 man team that does tricks and jokes during their show. They don’t realize the level and styles of play that men’s fastpitch has. Moreover, the international flavor of the top US club teams. Nearly every roster is laced with players from all over the world. The speed of the pitchers is astonishing and level of play doesn’t get any better. Yet, NFCA won’t cover it despite the fact more and more of the college coaches are coming from the men’s side of the game.
I’m all for Title IX. But, it has to work both ways. Sometimes people forget that.