Oh, to be able to throw like those girls!

“You throw like a girl,” my son taunted my daughter the other day. Granted, hers hadn’t been the best of throws, but while not aligned with the target, it was very much in line with the prowess of a seven-year-old arm of either gender.

With the global positioning powers of a grown-up girl and speed honed from experience, I got directly in his face.

“Throw like a girl?! What does that mean,” I demanded of her eight-year-old critic.

“You know,” he said, “all wimpy-like.”

Of course I know what he meant, but I still didn’t like it. That “you throw like a girl” remark has probably been around since the dawn of humans, long before there were organized sports.

“Hey, Eve . . . . could you toss me that apple? No, throw it overhand. And put a little spin on it and some muscle into it. Otherwise I’m going to have to think of an insult to describe how you do it.”

Fortunately, I have never been called a sissy for throwing like a girl. Growing up down the road from my cousin, Lucky, and playing various sports by the hour with him and his friends negated that.

The humbling privilege of playing summer ball and on school teams with outstanding female athletes like Deb Merchant, Julie Heator, and Pam Frost also made me run faster, throw harder, and jump higher. I want the same for my daughter.

Union City graduate Catherine Converse has guaranteed through family athletic tradition and personal tenacity that she’ll never be indicted as a wimp. Two weeks ago I witnessed Cat, now 27, rack up 105 yards on 15 carries en route to the West Michigan Mayhem women’s football team beating the Indiana Speed 21-0.

The victory left five-year veteran Converse and her team undefeated (8-0) and favorably positioned for the Women’s Football Association play-offs, outscoring their opponents 332-15. Wow!

Last year my kids met Converse and two of her Mayhem teammates when they stopped by our house for a story and photos. The conference game they saw the women play last summer proved to them why “Cat” Converse is valued by her teammates, praised by Mayhem Coach Matt Koch, and admired by women’s football fans.

Waiting for that game to start, my daughter played with Mayhem Co-Captain Lisa Luedtke’s young nieces, tossing around a souvenir football. The littlest sat behind me in the stands this June 27, yelling, “Go Aunt Weesa!” It crossed my mind she’s not likely to someday get accused of “throwing like a girl.”

Cat Converse’s brother and Mayhem Defensive Coach, Peter Converse, can’t recall heckling his younger sister athletically. In fact, he gives high marks to all the Mayhem women for their interest in football and willingness to learn. “Once they start playing, they quickly realize why guys like the game so much,” he says.

On Saturday, July 11, the West Michigan Mayhem will continue its quest for a national championship by facing the Columbus Commets on Mayhem home territory in the first round of the Women’s Football Association play-offs. On that same day in Philadephia, the Philadelphia Liberty Belles and the Indiana Speed will square off.

The winners will meet July 25 for the National Conference championship. The outcome of that game will determine who advances to the August 15 WFA “Super Bowl” equivalent in New Orleans, to play the American Conference title-holder. Last year the Mayhem made it to the championship game, losing there to Texas. This year’s Mayhem team is even stronger and free of major injuries.

I hope lots of young female athletes will be there to root for Cat Converse and the Mayhem July 11. It’s an opportunity to see women throw, run, carry, block, and tackle anything but like stereotypical “girls.” The game will be held at 7 PM at Vicksburg High School stadium , 501 East Highway Street, Vicksburg.

Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and free for children 10 and under. Military, police, and firemen are also admitted free with I.D. verification. The tailgating fun will start early in the parking lot, setting the tone for an evening of good football. Check out http://www.westmichiganmayhem.org.


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