Home' LOTL : September 2010 Contents 26 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Lifestyle Opinion / Profile / Travel / Food / Stars
It would be easy to dismiss baseball as primarily an American game,
a er all it boasts a World Series, made up of only Canadian and US teams. But
in reality, this nine players per side sport is played in more countries than cricket.
And as with most global games, Australia has a strong international presence,
the Aussies proving they're no slouches in the out eld. e men's team won the
Olympic silver medal in 2004 and a number of Australian women play in the
professional Japanese and US leagues.
While grassroots participation in the game has increased by 100
percent over the last decade, the girls at the Sydney Women's
Baseball League have been playing for a lot longer than that.
Started sixteen years ago by players that wanted a
competition run by women for women, the SWBL is now
the longest running women's baseball league in Sydney and
has bene ted from the sport's growing popularity.
Playing an active role in the LGBT community, the
league has a primarily lesbian membership base and draws
in players from all walks of life. eir youngest is a sixteen
year old state representative and their oldest is 50. e game
also brings in people from other sports, with footballers,
girls, golfers and cricketers all thrown into the mix.
President Mandi Barnao says part of the appeal is the game's inclusive nature,
there's a role for everyone -- and a chance to shine:
"While it is a team sport, individual performance is on display while players are
batting, pitching, elding," she says, adding, "everyone gets a go."
But if would-be pitch-hitters are overly anxious about their athletic ability, they
can always dress to impress:
"One of our more social teams used to have themed games," Barnao recalls.
"One Sunday their entire team was dressed like women from the Country
Women's Association and (they) played the game in dresses complete with
handbags and pearls."
And on-the-day performance can win out over experience. e SWBL
president's best memory of the game comes from her team's rst grand nal victory,
when the rookies took centre stage.
"All the big hitters were getting caught out and 2 of our newest members
had the game of their lives and helped to win the game for
u s ." ose SWBL big hitters make up some of the best players
Australia has on o er. e league has members that have
made the Australian train-on squad and play for the New
South Wales state team.
But the SWBL president acknowledges the general public
may have a slightly skewed understanding of baseball:
"I think most people know about getting to the bases, 1st base,
2nd base etc, but (they) might not realise that a sport is involved."
With the SWBL's many social events, players certainly have a chance
to hit those bases both on and o the eld. Pool comps, prom nights, Bingay and
even a Mardi Gras oat are all a popular part of the league. While relationships
forged within the con nes of women's team sports are nothing unusual, the SWBL
has gone one step further.
"A lot of our players have met their partners on the diamond," Bindao
acknowledges, revealing "this season we have had a mini baby boom."
at's one way of bringing in new players for a few generations to come.
For more information go to the SWBL website: swbl.org/
In a league of their own
Nicky Breen gets caught up in the action of Sydney Women's Baseball League.
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