Throw Like a Girl: The Power of Enacted Contradictions

MK-CO665_GAY_G_20140817170919In a world fraught with an increasing number of bitter debates over what is theoretically possible, the best antidote to prejudice may still be the enacted contradiction.  That, at least, is one of the lessons to be learned from the Little League career of pitcher Mo’ne Davis who pitches at 70 mph and just threw history’s first shut out for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons. She shatters sexist assumptions about what it means to “throw like a girl” and she does it all with composure that most adults find it hard to muster.  Her sense of presence on the mound and her control over a baseball prompted The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay to describe Davis’ approach as “the coolest thing I’d ever seen—and I saw “The Empire Strikes Back” at a drive-in.” I’m not much on the gospel of “positive thinking” and I am keenly aware that the power to contribute and create can be frustrated by people who seek to destroy, rather than celebrate the contributions that others make.  But there is a time and place to set aside the theory of what might be accomplished – or allowed – by enacting a lived contradiction to the naysaying of those who argue, “it can’t be done.”  That effort requires time, discipline, focus, and dedication.  But it also creates lasting exemplars that can’t be dismissed. Thanks to Mo’ne Davis of reminding us of that fact — not in words, but in action.

About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an Episcopal priest), live in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and five grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, Sophie, and Drew, with a sixth on the way.