Windsor girls invited to join new baseball league

A Sarnia Brave at the plate. July 2019. (Photo by Sarnia Braves Minor Baseball)

If you have a daughter between the ages of four and 16 who would like to play baseball, a new organization is coming to Windsor this spring.

Canadian Girls Baseball is Dana Bookman’s brainchild. She started the league back in 2016 when her daughter was six.

“She went to play baseball at our community league, and there were 400 kids in her age division, and she was the only girl,” explained Bookman. “Nobody was mean to her, but she realized that girls and boys play differently and value different things. She didn’t want to play anymore.”

While 41 per cent of girls do not play a team sport, Bookman believes girls are just as interested. Still, she was surprised at how many girls came out that first year.

“We decided to see if there were any girls in the community who wanted to play with us. We were hoping for five girls — and 44 girls ended up coming out that first year,” Bookman recounts. “In 2017, just by word of mouth, 350 girls showed up.”

Now, 1,500 girls in four provinces have signed up.

While many girls take up dance or gymnastics, Bookman believes baseball offers girls life lessons they may not get in those sports.

“I like to tell parents that baseball builds resilience more than any other sport. Even the best baseball players in the world fail 70 per cent of the time,” Bookman said. “We are teaching our girls when they get up, and they strikeout and they have to get up again and strike out again in front of everybody, that it’s okay to fail. That’s one of the scariest life lessons. There’s teamwork and empathy. Ninety-four per cent of CEOs of fortune 500 companies that are female played a sport.”

She believes girls’ baseball is where ringette was years ago. Girls who wanted to play hockey back then were encouraged to pursue ringette, and now girls tend to play softball.

Bookman knows sports can be expensive for families, but she told no girl would be turned away.

“There are already enough barriers to girls in sport,” she said. “We offer full or partial subsidies to anybody who needs it.”

If you are interested in signing up your child, information is available on the Canadian Girls Baseball website.