It’s February. And February means that many of us are starting our new seasons, whether it be for recreation leagues, travel and select ball or school ball. (Or all of the above)
The smell of fresh-cut grass, and having our hair full of brick-dust from sitting by the dusty fields – morning sunrise and sunsets, and the sting of wind and sun on our faces is right around the corner. All we need is Mother Nature to cooperate….and we are there. Baseball and softball season will be upon us.
At SIFG, we try very hard not to lecture – or not to offer concrete opinions about some of the ‘issues’ that plague us. We like to offer food for thought, and call on the input of the collective experiences of one another to help everyone. And this works. And when it comes to wearing facemasks….whether to wear them or not – whether they should be mandatory or not, whether they are a no-brainer or not – whether they are necessary or not, is no exception to our rule.
We can offer the information, and YOU can decide what is right for you and your daughter.
And we can HELP change the ‘stigma’ associated with wearing a mask.
(And we also have some GREAT NEW SHIRTS that make facemasks look even COOLER!)
This debate can get heated – and many people resort to name calling those that choose not have their daughters wear a facemask when playing. While others come up with some pretty ‘less than accurate’ reasons why girls shouldn’t wear them. As of right now, to wear a facemask or not to wear a facemask is still a choice….a personal decision. We do believe at some point, unfortunately probably when a young girl dies from taking a ball to the face – facemasks or infielders will be mandatory.
In all fairness, we will have to admit. We have 4 daughters that play competitive softball. 2 that pitch. 1 that plays middle infield. And a little one just starting out. Our pitcher daughters wear a facemask, and would not take the pitching rubber without it. It is as natural to them as wearing cleats. Our middle infielder, does not wear one. And our littlest wears one because she’s terrified of the ball and it has enabled her to have the confidence to learn to catcher better.
All that being said, the things that we cannot stand hearing is that face-masks are for sissies. That wearing a face mask will make a college coach not look at a player. (Biggest lie ever sold) That wearing a face mask is a sign of weakness. That if girls learn how to field, and play properly they won’t NEED a facemask. That wearing a facemask is just further progression into ‘sissifying’ our kids. That wearing a facemask is unnecessary as long as a girl is coached properly. (Tell that to the little rock in the infield that makes the ball take a wicked hop right into your daughters beautiful teeth). And the worst of all, is that ‘if baseball players don’t wear facemasks then why should softball players?” (Maybe because girls are MUCH closer to the batter, play with a bigger and harder ball)
Softball is a FAST game. Girls today are hitting with $300 weapons of bats that are solely manufactured to create POP! Pitchers are getting better than ever. Faster pitching makes the ball come off the bat even harder. Hitters are better than ever. Home runs are becoming the norm when just years ago they were not so common. As we progress in this sport, everything is getting faster and harder and better. We don’t care how awesome of a third baseman your daughter is, if she crashes to field a bunt and the girls swings away – one little ray of sunshine could cloud her vision just enough that she could take a ball right to the face. And that ball could kill her.
These pictures below were sent into us from a father, who coached, and didn’t think his daughter needed a mask. His mind was changed.
Here is another picture of a pitcher hit by a pitch.
Here is a video of Dallas Charge Pitcher Jolene Henderson taking a ball to the face. (And please don’t say this girl doesn’t know how to play ball or doesn’t have quick hands)
Here are some statistics….
Every year, more than two million girls between the ages of 12 and 18 play fast pitch softball. Like any sport, there are your standard injuries, pulled muscles, ankle sprains, but there’s also what happens when a ball going fifty miles an hour makes contact with a nose or an ear or an eye. Of all softball injuries last school year, 17.2% were head and face injuries.
Of the injuries sustained in softball, this is the breakdown.
Pitchers and third baseman do sustain most of the injuries such as concussions, broken noses, knocked out teeth.” “A helmet with a full face shield would prevent the vast majority of those injuries. Now, do they sustain them at high enough rate to justify making that a mandated piece of protection equipment? That’s not for us to decide. We can just present the information.
Our entire platform here is not to argue whether or not your daughter should or should not wear a facemask. We are FOR the safety and wellbeing of every child playing this sport. But ulitmately, it is up to YOU and YOUR daughter to decide.
But what we are sick and tired of hearing is that somehow wearing a facemasks, or the girls that do, or choosing to wear a facemask ont he softball field is somehow a sign of weakness, or an indication that a girl cannot play the game. That’s just crap, and it is exactly that kind of judgment and rhetoric that we have to stop.