Softball is a great sport for young girls. Even for old girls, like me. I played softball for 30 years, believe it or not. (And no, I’m not a lesbian!) I know what you’re thinking: “I didn’t know they had leagues in the womb!” But really, I’m a lot older than I look. I usually tell people that I’m 39.99, plus shipping and handling.
Really, though, I love softball. I was a fast-pitch pitcher, and later I slow-pitched. I commanded the mound for nearly three decades, then hung up my cleats after a softball accident a few years ago. Long story short, I fell on my head running to first base, after tearing my hamstring and groin muscle simultaneously.
Lesson No. 1: Always, ALWAYS stretch before the game.
Lesson No. 2: When you play with lesbians, you're bound to take a licking eventually.
Anyway, I wasn’t going to let a near-death experience sideline me. (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating.) So I jumped in to help coach my 11-year-old’s team this year. The Stingers. Black shorts, yellow jerseys. Cute little buggers. Coaching isn’t the same as being out in the field and actually playing. Nope. It’s even MORE fun!
My daughter played in a city league, with girls ranging in age from 6 to 14. The little ones were so precious. Their tube socks nearly covered their entire legs and the girls were almost as tall as their bats. One team had the most creative team name I’ve ever heard: Babes Ruthless. Isn’t that clever??
Now that I’ve set the scene, it’s time to whine/bitch about something that’s been bothering me for a while, but I held my tongue until after the season was over because I didn’t want my opinions to color the way my daughter might have been treated in the league.
Here’s my beef, summed up in a picture:
Does anyone else think it’s odd for Hooters to be sponsoring a young girls’ softball league? Does that seem a little out of place to you? That would be like the Jewish American League sponsoring Oktoberfest. Or me getting back together with my ex-husband. It’s kind of a mismatch.
Think about that for a minute: First off, the word “hooters” is downright demeaning to women. It’s a guy word, obviously. I don’t know any woman who refers to her breasts as “hooters,” and you know why? Because it’s degrading, guys! So why would you slap the word “Hooters” on a large, vinyl banner and hang it up on the fence of the main softball diamond for all those impressionable young girls to see?
“Coach Danny, what's a ‘Hooters?'"
One Saturday, an adult in an owl suit showed up to cheer on some of the young players. He was escorted by a gal in tight pants and a belly-baring top who was passing out restaurant coupons. The attention-grabbing owl was from Hooters. Get it?
I was stunned, then outraged. No one else seemed to be bothered by this invasion of innocence. Exposing young girls to the world represented by Hooters can contribute to their early sexualization, don’t you know? Studies have shown that early sexualization of girls can lead to eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem. Certainly the opposite of what we are trying to instill in our daughters through their participation in a team sport.
And what’s a family supposed to do with the coupons, anyway? Take their daughters to Hooters for some half-priced wings to see more young women in tight shirts and barely-there shorts being ogled by “hungry” male guests? I can’t verify this myself, but one of my readers told me that some of the less-endowed waitresses even walk around wearing signs on their shirts that say, “Tip me. I’m saving up for a boob job.”
I repeat: Hooters has NO business sponsoring a girls’ softball league. There are plenty of other businesses to tap into that would be more appropriate for this venue: Chuck E. Cheese, Knott's Berry Farm, Baskin and Robbins, Del Taco (just kidding on that one!).
And those who think it’s perfectly acceptable to take Hooters' money and hang their banners on our daughters' softball fields in exchange for a little “exposure,” well, you’re just a bunch of boobs!