stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
A Little League of their own
space
space
By STACEY STEIN
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – Page A1

When Noa Rae O'Neill showed an interest in playing baseball, her mother enthusiastically registered the then-six-year-old with a league in Toronto. Noa Rae was the only girl among the 400 kids in her age division.

"She loved baseball, and she was amazing at it, but when it came time to sign up again, she said, 'I'm not doing it,' " her mom, Dana Bookman, said. She acknowledged the team dynamic was "off," with boys being reluctant to throw the ball to her daughter.

Ms. Bookman searched for an all-girls league in Toronto and discovered that none existed for younger girls. In fact, while there are all-girls leagues in Canada for sports such as hockey and soccer, girls baseball leagues are a rarity.

"Baseball feels like the last frontier," Ms. Bookman said, adding that girls have traditionally been limited in baseball and pushed into softball, which uses a bigger and softer ball.

"Baseball powers think that girls have softball and boys have baseball, and they think that's the equivalent, but baseball and softball are as different as hockey and ringette," Ms. Bookman said.

So the mom of two decided to start her own league and founded Toronto Girls Baseball in 2016.

Through word of mouth and social media, she recruited 42 girls and created four teams. Just one year later, the league ballooned to 350 girls, with 32 teams playing in four parks across the Greater Toronto Area. This year, she's expecting around 400 players. The league's success inspired Ms.

Bookman to launch all-girls leagues in Manitoba and Nova Scotia this year, each operating out of two separate locations.

"My goal is to bring this program for girls baseball to every city in every province across the country," Ms. Bookman said.

To that end, she has also created the Canadian Women's Baseball Association.

Ms. Bookman is fighting against declining participation rates for girls in sports.

In Canada, 41 per cent of girls between the ages of 3 to 17 do not participate in sport, and only 22 per cent participate in team sports, according to a 2016 report on the status of female sport participation in Canada. There's a drop-off in that figure as girls enter adolescence, with overall participation rates falling by 22 per cent.

The consequences are far-reaching: Aside from the physical, social and psychological benefits of sport participation, studies show that girls who play sports are more likely to graduate from college, find a job and be employed in male-dominated industries. Research from Ernst & Young also shows that among senior businesswomen in the C-suite, 94 per cent played sports and more than half played at a university level, pointing to a correlation between female participation in sports and success in business.

So if the benefits are obvious, why are girls staying away from the country's rinks, fields and courts, especially as they approach their teen years? The reasons are manifold and complex.

"Weight and body commentary sends them out the door and parents are at the top, along with teammates, peers and coaches," said Jennifer Fenton, a physical activity education consultant based in Vancouver. Ms. Fenton serves on the board of directors of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) and is also the organization's former chair.

Ms. Fenton said there needs to be a "no-tolerance policy" when it comes to body-shaming and negative talk on the field, and emphasized the importance of fostering a safe, positive environment for girls of all ages.

Another important piece is having women in leadership roles, both at the decision-making level as well as on the field, as coaches and mentors for young girls.

"The dominant culture excludes the majority of women, so even if you want to make changes, as just one woman around the table, it's hard to speak up," Ms. Fenton said.

"At the club level, there will be seven guys who put their hands up to coach or run the league and the women are like, 'I'm not doing this because I don't feel comfortable.' " All-girls sports teams and leagues are important for girls who may not feel comfortable playing with boys, Ms. Fenton said, adding this support is needed early on.

Ms. Bookman's league includes divisions for girls between the ages of four to 16 - capturing those crucial teen years - and the coaches include members of the provincial and national women's baseball teams.

Even the umpires on the field are all women.

Emma Carr, the programming director for Toronto Girls Baseball and one of the league's coaches, grew up playing baseball as the only girl on an all-boys team. She said that playing baseball on an all-boys team became harder as she got older.

"The boys were bigger and stronger, and sometimes when I faced other teams, I would get the whole, 'It's a girl playing,' " said Ms. Carr, a second-year Ryerson University student who plays on the Canadian national team and the Ontario provincial team. "They wouldn't appreciate the skill I had. It was kind of degrading."

Ms. Carr conceded she was a little skeptical when she first learned about Ms. Bookman's startup league for girls, having witnessed a similar effort fail when she was younger.

But her mind was "blown" when more than 40 girls signed up for the first season.

"It's unbelievable how much this has spread and how successful it has been," she said.

Nine-year-old Sydona Litman only began playing when she joined Toronto Girls Baseball in 2016. She wrote about the league and the importance of girls in sport for a public-speaking school assignment.

"All of the girls make me feel comfortable, and it's really fun, and it gives me confidence - it's just amazing," Sydona said.

42 Number of girls who played in Toronto Girls Baseball in 2016 350 Number of girls who played in 2017 400 Number of girls the league's founder expects to play in 2018

Associated Graphic

Samantha Sanchez takes a swing during Toronto Girls Baseball tryouts.

CHRIS DONOVAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

A girl winds up a pitch during tryouts for Toronto Girls Baseball. Aside from the physical, social and psychological benefits of sport participation, studies show that girls who play sports are more likely to graduate from college, find a job and be employed in male-dominated industries.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS DONOVAN/ THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Sienna Baron, left, and Kate Rames practise throwing during a tryout session for Toronto Girls Baseball.

Toronto Girls Baseball includes divisions for girls between the ages of 4 to 16 and the league's coaches include members of the provincial and national women's baseball teams.


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Lorne_Rubenstein Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page