By Kaytlyn Poberznick
Timeless. No matter what day, what year or what time it is, A League of Their Own is a classic movie.
Directed by Penny Marshall in 1992, A League of Their Own was set in the 1940’s during WWII and was constructed loosely on real players of the Rockford Peaches in the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League. Starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks, this film shows that “girl power” is more than just two words on a page. This movie is outspoken, humorous and emotional all at once.
When the men enlisted into the war there were no longer any athletic competitions happening, so the women’s leagues took over. The new baseball league began and many did not believe it would be successful. These women were left there with nothing when they were finally offered the opportunity to show their talents outside of their household.
Dottie, played by Geena Davis, became the best player in the league and although she didn’t see the importance in playing baseball, she saw it to be a placeholder until the men returned. Coach Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, showed her that when she plays she lights up; something comes over her when she’s on the diamond. The opportunity arose for these women to get the spotlight and they took it with ease.
This ageless piece, among few, showcases dominant and strong women in sports. Penny Marshall proves that women can be more than just a “supportive wife” or “the sidekick”, but that they can thrive on the diamond and they can do it while wearing skirts.
A League of Their Own breaks through the gender stereotypes of their day. We’ve all seen the basic clichés of baseball movies, but A League of Their Own shows that the well known depiction of compliant housewives in the 1940’s can turn into a successful female dominated baseball league that everyone needed. A void was left in sports lovers’ hearts when the war started, but when the women got called to action, whether you loved or hated them, they were all anyone could talk about.
Although the league was only meant to be played while the men were at war, it prospered until 1954. There was proof that women can stand their own in a professional sports league.
This movie stands the test of time for a number of reasons. As much as things have changed and progressed for women’s sports, many things have remained the same. While there is no war to place a spotlight on women’s sports, many of the same antiquated societal notions that plagued the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League in the movie are similar to the pressures felt by female athletes in the modern day.
This movie provides a source of hope for growth in women’s sports, and is a harbinger for the kind of paradigm shift that is necessary for that growth. ‘Girl Power’ is real, and women in sport are owed their due respect.
As Jimmy Dugan says, there may be “No crying in baseball!” but there is room in our hearts to cry out for better understanding of the women’s game.