It's been nearly 20 years since I lived in America. Lots of things have changed. Still, I find it hard to accept that these days only lesbian women play softball because it wasn't the case in the 1980s.
This all goes back to that Wall Street Journal picture of Elena Kagan. Apparently anyone looking at that picture would have known that Kagan is a lesbian. Why? Because she's playing softball, that's why. I just don't know.
I didn't see the picture before I heard about the controversy, but I would not have associated a woman playing softball with lesbianism. Softball is not a tough game; you do not have to be 'butch' to play. I played quite a bit in the late 80s/early 90s in the mixed-sex company league when I was working for Citibank. I don't think any of the women I played with were lesbians.
When I look at the picture of Kagan all I see is a woman playing in a game at an office picnic or something like that. No uniform shirt or proper footware. Why read anything more than that into the picture?
Of course, the Irish media has picked up on all this nonsense and regurgitated what they're reading in the American press. As far as I can tell not a single Irish journalist has bothered to contact Softball Ireland, despite the fact that there are dozens of teams playing the game here, almost all in mixed-sex leagues. They might have been able to help the Irish Times by explaining that the women who play softball don't fit that or any stereotype.
Maybe there's a grain of truth to this whole 'women who play softball' thing, but all I can imagine is that this will make it that bit tougher to convince women in the office to turn out for the summer softball league.