“I throw my curve ball like Clayton Kershaw, and my fast ball like Mo’Ne Davis.” Mo’Ne Davis
There is something about Mo’ne Davis that captivates me every time I see her. To my surprise and delight this past Thursday on Thanksgiving morning, the little league pitcher and the rest of the Taney Dragons team members were given the recent honor of kicking off Macy’s 88th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. An earlier news release from Macy’s gives some insights into why the team may have been selected for this special recognition: [Ref 1]:
Kicking off the march will be a special group of children who have embodied the Parade’s spirit of teamwork. Throughout their remarkable run this past season at the Little League World Series, Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons displayed an inspiring level of collaboration, spirit and camaraderie – as perfectly evidenced by the group’s embrace and support of star pitcher Mo’ne Davis. In honor of that exemplary effort this year, the Taney Dragons will lead the procession down the streets of Manhattan with Macy’s Parade executive producer, Amy Kule.
And while the future of who Mo’ne Davis will become, and the mark that she will leave on baseball or another sport has yet to be written, she is off to a great start. You know she’s done something right when I can find a biography of her on Wikipedia. To date, Mo’ne is remembered as one of two girls who played in the 2014 Little League World Series. She is the first female to earn a win and pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history!
Not bad, however, her story does not stop there. She is also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine while still a Little League player. Other significant honors and awards include being named one of the “The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014” by Time Magazine. However, it gets better. A 16-minute documentary about Davis and produced by film maker Spike Lee, I Throw Like A Girl, was released in October 2014. Davis was also invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 4 for the Major League Baseball (MJB) World Series on October 24, 2014 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
All I know is when I saw her pitch a no hitter during the Little League World Series this past summer, my only thoughts were this: I wish I could throw like that girl. You could see the look of desperation on the faces of the opposing team members. They were both in awe of this pitching phenom, and shaking in their baseball cleats at the same time.
Why am I like so many others captivated with her? Perhaps because there are not 1,000 other Mo’nes playing baseball instead of softball, throwing 70 mile per hour fast balls and pitching no hitters in the Little League. As a comparison, you don’t have dozens of the likes of Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, or Blake Shelton – Season Seven’s coaches on The Voice – performing every day. This in no way overlooks all the good things that other 13-year olds have or are doing in this country and around the world. Remember, only two girls played in the Little League World Series this past summer.
The other thing that is captivating for me is how she has taken all of this in stride. While a lot of attention has been showered on Mo’ne, she reminds everyone that she is a member of the Taney Dragons and the Anderson Monarchs. Stay humble, Mo’ne. Stay humble.
How does Mo’ne’s story connect to women in business and STEM. No differently than in sports, entertainment, business, or tech, everyone is not gifted with the same skills, and all will not be standouts in their fields. A fact that may be overlooked when differentiating talent and skill from average performance in the work place.
Any woman that has had to blaze trails where no path previously existed already knows a thing or two about receiving unsolicited recognition or attention. Normally, these women aren’t impressed by being the only one, or the first one to do what they do in the work place or any other place. However, most everyone else is.
Most notable in Mo’ne’s story is that just about everyone took to this phenom with a positive and enthusiastic attitude. No one tried to steal her thunder or give credit to others for what she does and does extremely well – at least not on camera, and she was allowed to just be her true authentic self and do what she does best. If only I could say that about so many folks that I have encountered in the world of Business & STEM. As CNN’s Kelly Wallace writes, [she has] removed the “specialness” of girls playing at the level of boys. In the future, fans will look at how good a player is, and gender will not be important.
Mo’ne and a few others are proving that some females can play baseball, football, basketball, golf and other sports as well as the males. Does this apply to all female athletes? No! But give those that do their propers! Is this game over for Mo’ne? I doubt it. In fact, the future of Mo’ne Davis and her game has yet to be written! If nothing else, Mo’ne has and will inspire other girls to play baseball and other male sports. For sure, Mo’ne has given new and positive meaning to the phrase, you throw like a girl.
As I said earlier, I wish I could throw like that girl.
- …Let’s Have A Parade, Macy’s Press Releases, November 3, 2014, http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=84477&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1984797