Why Mo'ne Davis' Play Matters To Girls

Even for the younger girls, the choices might get more complicated as they get older. How long did Wray see herself staying in baseball?

"Until my dad says he wants me to play softball," she said, looking up hopefully to her father, James.

"If she wants to stay in baseball, it's OK with me," he said.

But one father of a middle school girl, who did not share his name, said girls can get hurt playing with boys.

"They don't have the same musculature of a guy if they have a collision," he said.

And for little Danyse Washington, even with a supportive and loving dad married to a woman he boasted was a five-time Pennsylvania high school state champion in track, her choice might not be quite as open as it seems either.

"I would rather she play softball because, as a dad, I don't want her to get hurt," he said.

Two seats down, Yolanda Washington differed and said if her daughter "had the skills," she would support her in baseball.

More importantly, she said, is the example Davis is setting for Danyse in the larger scheme.

"I'm excited that as an African-American girl, [my daughter] sees another African-American girl doing something so unique and positive," she said. "It's empowering for her. It doesn't have to be baseball."

Calling baseball "my first love," Angela Gardiner, who sat on a blanket on the hill overlooking right field with her pre-school daughters, said she grew up helping with her younger brother's baseball team. There was no way, she said, her daughters would be denied a chance to play the game, if that is what they want.

"If she wants to play football, I'm going to encourage her," Gardiner said of her 5-year-old. "There just shouldn't be gender boundaries."

Chrissi Kriner, of Williamsport, who was watching the game with her 11-year-old daughter, Juliana, strongly agreed and also applauded the message Davis is sending.

"At this age, girls can start falling behind, both athletically and academically, with boys leading the way," she said. "For this girl to play and excel is truly inspirational."

Said Juliana with a smile: "She really redefines 'She throws like a girl.' "

Jamie Girgenti, an 11-year-old gymnast and avid Phillies fan who drove from Medford, New Jersey, on Sunday morning with her uncle Bobby to see Davis play, simply likes what she sees.

"Her self-esteem must be very high to play with all boys," she observed. "She doesn't seem stuck up at all but just someone with great confidence. Mo'ne would be my role model if I was on a baseball team.

"She would be my role model even in general."

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