Lincecum, in case you’ve been living on another planet this baseball season, is the Giant’s pitching ace, the long-haired little kid who looks like a skate-punk, even when he’s hurling a fastball over the plate at 94 m.p.h. To say he defies the stereotype of the typical ballplayer is, well, understatement.
Which is why we Bay Area folks love this particular Giants team. They’re misfits. In the best possible way. Take first baseman Aubrey Huff, whose underpants come from Victoria’s Secret. Seriously. He has taken to wearing a red sequined thong – for good luck – under his uniform. Or third baseman Pablo Sandoval dubbed Panda because he’s fat – who not only doesn’t mind the nickname, but has inspired thousands of adoring fans to wear furry panda hats at AT&T Park. There’s clutch hitter Cody Ross, MVP of the NL Championship Series. He thought his career in baseball was over when the Giants picked him up on waivers at the end of the summer.
And then there’s closer Brian Wilson who sports a fauxhawk and a beard that looks to be dyed daily with shoe polish. He told the New York Times that his goal is to one day be a NYT crossword puzzle clue, and if you really want to get a dose of weird, Google Wilson and “the machine.”
In short, this ain’t your grandpa’s baseball team. And, other than giving me a chance to write about my beloved Gigantes as I gear up for Game One of the World Series, this scrappy team provides a good lesson here for the rest of us. Which is to say: you don’t necessarily have to play by the rules to win the game.
That’s something we women, whether we’re baseball fans or not, need to take to heart as we march our way into this new millennium, often trying to fit ourselves into a world carved out by Someone Else. You have to wonder how often we let ourselves be socialized by the stereotypes, wear the uniforms dictated by the roles we think we’re supposed to play.
Do we really have to buy into society’s timetable that says we have to have achieved XYZ – a house, a kid, a killer career and a dog – by such-and-such a birthday? (We don’t even have to like dogs, do we?) Do we have to pretend we’re not interested in fashion — even if we happen to love fashion — to be taken seriously as feminists? Why is it we feel obliged to get a degree in business when what we want to do is dance?
And why is it that we feel compelled to act like the boys to make it in a business world that they designed generations ago. Maybe that world doesn’t work anymore — for any of us. As we’ve noted before, what women have to offer (you know, our differences?) might actually be better for the workplace itself, not to mention the bottom line. And speaking of that, what if, when it comes to career, all we really want is a paycheck?
(I could go on but, you know, its almost 4:57. I’ve got a game to watch.)
In short, if we don’t like the mold, why do we keep trying to fit inside it? That’s a guarantee that we’ll never see a game change. As one of our icons, Gloria Steinem, once said: Don’t think about making women fit the world–think about making the world fit women.
The message? There’s no harm in being ourselves. We’ll not only be more comfortable – well, probably not so much in the sequined thong – but we may well win in the long run.
To which you know there’s only one response. See above.
photo credit: Kyle Terada/US Presswire