It has been made pretty clear over the history of the Americas that women’s sports have never been as popular or even liked as much as men’s. As a female athlete myself, and as someone who competes in a sport that is heavily not considered one (Equestrian), The Untold History of Softball and the Women Who Made the Game spoke to me on a deeper level than I expected it to. Nowadays we see Softball as a solely women’s sport and justify it as such due to its “easier” system of play, and this is usually the case for many women-majority sports. These book chapters proved this is not the case and that many famous baseball players during the 30s and 40s even struggled to play accordingly. It has also been made evident to me that softball was a way for women to navigate the very harsh patriarchal society they found themselves in along with the devastating realities of the Great Depression that made finding a secure job even harder.

“Fifty years after its invention, softball had become as complicated and sophisticated as its parent sport: it was no longer just a community game to get people moving and boost worker morale”

This quote helps explain the overall message of the book chapters. It is explained that Softball started as a way for factory workers in the new industrial landscape to play a pastime in the small spaces they were given. In an environment that didn’t allow much autonomy, softball brought happiness to the people involved. The sport’s popularity grew during the Great Depression due to cheap games and as a way for people to forget their realities. This aspect was especially evident at the 1933 Chicago World Fair where hundreds of thousands watched the game. Women quickly also took hold of the growing popularity and made it their own. Due to its newness, it was less offensive for them to play the sport, and was one of the only sports where men and women similarly played the game. Softball not only offered women a chance to be an athlete but also allowed them to have a sense of securement and a way to be independent. In some ways, women were the ones to help bring the game out of the community aspect, as they became more competitive. Women’s teams would bring out huge crowds, and in California, even celebrities would go to watch them play. In the late 30s women would even be recruited to play for teams, like Bertha a farmer and daughter of immigrants, who became a pitcher for the Lionettes. Bertha was one of the many women who used Softball to escape a life that she didn’t want and to follow her passions without getting criticized for playing sports in an unfeminine way. I would love to dive deeper into this book to learn even more about how the sport developed and how women began to go pro.