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Let Me Tell You Something About Being The Little League Mom

I’m not here to sugar-coat this.

by Anonymous
Let Me Tell You Something About Being The Little League Mom.
Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock

I didn’t end up on the board of our local Little League for the love of the game. I do love the game, but that wasn’t the driving force. Instead, it started because I was pissed off.

The first year that I was a head coach of my kid’s team — a volunteer position! — a former board member stepped into ump a playoff game. (He was wearing khaki shorts and a fleece vest, even though it was 70°, just to give you the full picture.) He tried his very best to degrade me on a wrong call, and when I chirped back, he called me a bitch under his breath. In front of a 7-year-old. Give me a break.

So I got fired up and soon joined the board. Let’s be honest, baseball has always been a man’s sport; from T-ball all the way up to the major leagues. But I had no idea that taking on a leadership role would open a door to so much weaponized incompetence and downright chauvinism.

I quickly bonded with a fellow mom, who was the board president at the time, venting about our dad counterparts and sending each other eye-roll emojis and counting on each other to get stuff done.

We were both there for the same reason, to volunteer our time for our kids, to raise money for the league, to keep baseball relevant in our town, and to welcome more people to the league. We both knew that if something needed to get done, we could count on each other to help.

When my team won our division championships and then a local tournament, it meant something to both of us. It felt good to be the only woman coach to win that tournament with a team of boys. ESPECIALLY when it seemed like half the men thought I was the team mom, someone they thought was just there to bring Big League Chew and break open ice packs when a kid got hurt.

I stayed on for another year as coach and board member because I have two boys and they need to know men don’t rule the world, at least not this small little baseball world. It was basically the same group, but the only difference… my buddy retired, and I am now the lone mom in a room full of dudes.

I came in HOT. Right off the bat, I made a comment about how the only reason I was on the board was to make sure our women’s softball league could continue to use the coveted town field. If one piece of trash was found after a women’s game, all hell would break loose, meanwhile I was shoveling trash out of the dugouts daily. They laughed, but I was dead serious. There wouldn’t be anyone there to advocate for more use of the fields, or encourage softball to use the fields, or promote our mom softball tournament in a positive light without a mom on the board.

I think a lot of men do this thing where they will act like they don’t know how to do something or ask so many questions until their wife, partner, whoever, gets so annoyed they end up doing it themselves. (You probably know the term already: weaponized incompetence.) This group does the same thing. We need to post on social media: “I don’t have social media, I mean I can ask my wife to help me.” We need volunteers, so let’s send out a Sign Up Genius; “Is that free? Do we have an account?”

Every. single. thing. was time-consuming and misguided. As someone who has done a lot of fundraising, mostly with other women, I can confidently say it was a total cluster. They suggested a family golf fundraiser, instead of, I don’t know, a simple kid-led raffle. And don’t even get me started on how many times I heard the phrase, “I know a guy.”

When I think I can’t take it anymore, I think about the value this has for my boys. They can be proud of their mom who made her place as a leader in a historically male led organization. They can see what it takes to make change, all the time and effort it takes just to be heard. I will never change the culture if I give in, right? We can only do what we can only do. So I’ll keep showing up, and hopefully one day there will be an equal ratio of men and women sitting in the same little league board room.