You wish you could throw like a girl: The 2007 Women’s College World Series

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My brain is filled with images of ponytails and visors after watching hours of the Women’s College World Series for softball all weekend on ESPN and ESPN2. Did you catch all of the coverage? I never get tired of watching Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith, who was one of the commentators.

This weekend, Arizona State, Texas A&M, DePaul, Baylor, Northwestern and Washington all got knocked out of the series, leaving the Arizona Wildcats and Tennessee Lady Vols to play for the title starting today.

Since I watch sports like I play golf, I spend a lot of time yelling at inanimate objects that cannot hear me, like golf balls and television sets. This weekend I wanted Texas A&M to advance, mostly because I like Texas schools, because I like the food in Texas. My loyalty to teams — if the school I went to is not playing — revolves around food or national monuments. Or the uniforms. Or a member of the team I develop a crush on after flipping through the media guide. No, I don’t know why I’m not working for ESPN.

I would be OK with Tennessee winning another championship title to stack onto the basketball bling the school just brought home in April. Plus, the Lady Vols have pitcher Monica Abbott, who just won the USA Softball Player of the Year award, and who is also the NCAA All-Time leader in wins (188), strikeouts (2,414), shutouts (111) and appearances (251).

Along with the in-depth analysis of the games I was doing this weekend, I chatted with friends of mine who played college softball. One friend is in the hall of fame for her college, and another for her home state. They had some fun, unprintable stories about coming out on a college softball team. I found an article on the GLBTQ site that talks about women and the pull of softball:

“Indeed, joining a lesbian softball team is often the first move a new lesbian in town makes to meet other like-minded women. Almost every major city has its own softball league (often with unmistakable marks of lesbian “processing,” such as allowing team members to take turns coaching or softening rules according to players’ individual strengths and weaknesses and needs.)”

How, exactly, do you process a lesbian? I’ve played on softball teams. Nobody processed me.

Moving on, I recommend reading Graham Hays’ column on ESPN’s website to catch up on the games and get details on the teams. I know, he’s a dude, but I’ve covered some women’s sports with him before, and he does a great job covering the games. He also says things like this when talking about women’s sports:

If a softball field is landscape art at is finest — the crisscrossing tracks of the mower adding a geometric complexity to the large swaths of green grass, brown dirt and blue skies — then the strike zone is pure abstract expressionism.

Whoa. I didn’t know it was so cerebral, but I see his point when I look at this photo of Jennie Finch:

The best-of-three game series starts tonight. Check the ESPN site for the schedule.

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