Don’t Let The Broad Beat You!….
When I was 12, I played soccer and baseball. Two male dominated sports. I was Bo Jackson before there was a Bo Jackson. Only I was a girl. There wasn’t many outlets for girls to play these sports back in the early-80’s, of course, you could play softball on a girls team but I wasn’t interested in softball. Even when the county girls’ softball team tried to recruit me, I turned them down. In the spring, I played baseball. I was a pitcher, 2nd basemen and I hit DH (designated hitter)for my team. I led the league in RBI’s and I was considered one of the top players for four years until I hit the wall where no girl can go back then– I was not allowed to continue in baseball in high school and thus, my dream of playing in the BIGS ended. During the fall months, I played soccer. And once again, I was the only girl in the youth league. I played in a little town, Savage, MD. Back then there was no Brandy Chastain or Hope Solo to inspire me. I looked to my heroes in sports Dale Hunter Dave Keon and Scotty McGregor that were male and dominated in their own sports. I was also inspired to play by my Mother, Michelle. She taught me how to hit the ball, how to pitch and how to be lady while you do it. The two things you never want to be in a male dominated sports league – be better than the most of boys in talent, skill and be a girl that does it with great class.
On a cold Saturday November morning I was on placed on defense for my team. As we made our charge down the field, I led the defense to opposing side. My mother, all 4 feet 10 inches of her, stood on the sideline as she did every game day was anxiously watching her daughter take on the boys on their turf. I was a warrior, I gave as good as I got. So imagine my surprise when a Father of a young boy on the opposing team broke through the cold morning air with these words from the sideline “Scotty! Don’t let the BROAD beat you!!” Whoa. What was that? I stopped in my tracks. The words were ringing in my ears as I proceeded to look down the field to see “Scotty” coming right at me. In this moment, I had a choice – crumble or proceed to play my game. Guess what I choose? Poor Scotty. As I deked by past him and proceed to score the goal, I looked back to see the look on his face. He hung his head low and glanced to his Dad. Scotty’s Dad threw his baseball cap to the ground in disgust. Scotty had let his old man down. In that moment, I realized that I had prevailed but the victory was bittersweet. How could a grown man say such a vile statement about a young girl? What was the lesson he was teaching that day?
After the game, Scotty shook my hand as the teams assembled for the handshake at the end and said “Great game, you were awesome” and I thought to myself isn’t amazing that his father couldn’t do the same but he could see pass my sex and see only a player. To Scotty’s Dad I would always be the “Broad” who beat his son.
In later years, I took this lesson to heart. I didn’t see men as competition, rather I see all people for their character and values within. My career took me into male dominated sectors such as software and hardware developers, technology based organization where women are a rarity. As I navigated the waters of these industries, I didn’t let my sex hold me back. I also didn’t use it to my advantage either. I didn’t gravitate to the girls club of these sectors, rather, I made sure that I was surrounded by great people of both sexes and focused on my skills and talents to bring out the best in others. My focus was to ensure that all are recognized for their talents within not the sex or race on the outside.
I keep Scott’s Dad in mind – I refer back to it from time and time, reflect on the lesson learned and let it inspired me to play my game and never give up. Scotty’s Dad did make me be a leader and lead others to be their best.