Posted on LinkedIn Influencers on August 23, 2014.
The past two weeks, the sports world has been enamored by Mo’ne Davis, a 13 year old Little League pitcher from Philadelphia who became the first girl to throw a shut out in the Little League World Series. An extremely talented athlete, Davis has stated that her dream is to eventually play basketball for UConn, but for now, she is the undisputed star of the Little League World Series. Since her shut out, Davis has drawn record crowds and viewers to her games, she was the first Little Leaguer to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, and she has pretty much become the story of the tournament. It is an incredible accomplishment for someone so young, and I for one would like to congratulate Davis on all of her achievements.
Earlier today, Makers posted a short video profile cheering on Davis as she and her teammates continue through their games, and I’m thrilled that Makers is recognizing the importance of this story. Makers.com was launched in 2012 to highlight the stories of trailblazing women and to celebrate their achievements. Quite often many of these women were the first women to achieve a certain milestone in their field, and while some lament the need to celebrate these firsts, I say bring it on. Every time a woman achieves something that was previously only thought to be attainable by men and boys, it challenges social norms and breaks down destructive gender stereotypes. These women and girls become role models for countless others, and they prove that both men and women can truly accomplish anything when they set their mind to it. I was an early champion of what has become Makers, and I couldn’t be prouder of this incredible platform and all that they do to promote women’s stories.
The Makers profile on Davis also references the #LikeAGirl video that went viral earlier this summer as part of an awareness campaign by Always to highlight the negative gender stereotypes often associated with being a girl. Makers notes that Davis throws like a girl, and it is precisely that talent that is being celebrated by all fans, male and female, of the Little League World Series. What an amazing message to send to all of the girls and boys watching in the stands: Whether you throw like a girl or throw like a boy, at 70 miles an hour, you’ll get the whole crowd on their feet.
Personally, I love the publicity this story has generated, but some have argued that so much attention, so suddenly, to someone so young is dangerous, and I agree, to an extent. While it would be easy to crush Davis under the weight of expectation once the World Series ends, the fact of the matter is that an opportunity to be a role model has been presented to her, and having been given a chance to be a leader, it is ultimately up to her to decide whether or not to take it. I hope ( and it seems) she chooses to embrace it, because her success is inspiring so many people, and could encourage those younger than her to take up the sport and dream of one day reaching the World Series themselves. However, for now, Davis has a big game next Thursday night against Jackie Robinson West of Chicago, and on that night I will be cheering her on, thankful that this poised player has shown the world that throwing like a girl is pretty darn awesome.
Photo: newspaper guy / Flickr