Right now, I’m trying to convince my friend to put her 5-year-old daughter into softball, because it’s a great sport for girls.
For one thing, softball is slow and tedious, so the girls have lots of time to sit around the dugout doing nothing, which is the only time kids have these days to let their minds wander.
Daydreaming is important, and kids don’t do it anymore, because they’re always staring at screens. There are no screens in the dugout – at least not that I know about (though I wouldn’t be shocked to discover there’s a dugout somewhere inside a gated community with a high-def iPhone screen and charging station at every padded seat.)
For another thing, my daughter, Curly Girl, picked a lot of pretty dandelions out there on the field.
At the youngest levels of play, the ball never actually makes it into the outfield, so girls playing those positions have infinite time to wander around looking for wildflowers. On the rare occasions the ball was actually hit to her, she would look up, slightly annoyed that her reverie had been interrupted.
It’s been more than 10 years now since I decided to stop my car and enroll Curly Girl in Bobby Sox softball, after I saw the banner announcing sign-ups for spring. At one time, Bobby Sox was the only girls’ game in town, but now even Little League graciously allows them to play.
Sports have been shown to be good for girls, because they give them confidence and a sense of identity, reduce the likelihood of eating disorders and make their bodies strong. Plus, the lucky parents benefit by getting to spend umpteen hours at the ballpark that they otherwise would have wasted getting groceries, washing the car and going to Happy Hour.
I didn’t ask ask my kindergartner if she wanted to play softball, because I’m old. Being old and impatient, I didn’t ask my kids a lot of things when they were small. I just signed them up. How on earth could a 5-year-old know whether or not she wanted to play a game she’d…