“Playing softball to me is like being in love – a feeling you get – and you can’t always explain it.”
Dallas is the only woman in a highly competitive men’s softball league – and she unflinchingly plays the pressure position of shortstop. She is also a high school women’s varsity softball coach, a talented singer and entertainer, and am insatiable free spirit.
Not being afraid in any context. Whether it is traveling alone or being a woman on an all men’s softball team. It is having the courage to push yourself to be your best.
I started playing T-ball when I was 4 years old. At 5 years old I began playing softball, and I have been playing year around ball ever since.
Short stop – it is the hottest position – and I have always played it. I am a bit of a ball hog. I am an entertainer at heart and I like having all of the action. Our third baseman kids me that I take all of the balls.
“For the love of the game.” I fell in love with it when I was five years old. I am the youngest of three girls and they both played ball. I wanted to live up to my sisters’ abilities as players. My middle sister was a terrific catcher and my older sister was a great player, too, and I wanted to be as good as them. Plus, it’s a team sport and I like working together as a team. Playing softball to me is like being in love – a feeling you get – and you can’t always explain it.
I started playing on a coed team and when they couldn’t get enough women to play they moved into an all men’s league. I didn’t want to stop playing. It was not easy getting permission to play in the men’s league. I had to go before a Board to get cleared to play. I am the only woman who has the clearance to play in the men’s league.
It’s very competitive. We play with a 12 inch hard ball. Men’s softball leagues are one of the biggest recreational sports in the country and they take it very seriously. The balls come very fast and hard to short stop. And there is the illegal (yet ramped) practice of shaving bats to make the ball go even farther and faster. So, you have to be very competitive to play.
I was at a Washington Tournament and when I arrived the guys on the other teams were laughing at me. But after making two double plays they stopped laughing. When they saw that I could play – and that I was a good player – they made me stop and sign a waiver to play. But a man (who I got out) kept complaining about me being a woman and they eventually just banned me from playing in the tournament. Now I am banned (as are all other women) from playing in USSSA Tournaments.
There are no problems. My teammates are like big brothers to me. I am treated like one of the guys. They will say, “That a boy,” after a good play. I am just one of them. If I am having a bad day they will pull me. Not because I am female, but because I am having an off day (like any other player). Guys on the other teams may whistle at me when the game starts. But by the end of the game there isn’t any whistling and I have their respect.
At practice we cheer each other by bumping chests and pounding fists. But I pay close attention to be respectful to the wives of the married men. I try to be as appropriate as I can possibly be.
Batting is not a challenge for me. I bat at the end of the line-up. My ego can handle batting last. I am a base hitter and not a power hitter. I usually get on base and I am a fast, smart base runner. I score more often than the average player. With that said, once I hit a Grand Slam to right field in the men’s park.
If a woman is good enough to compete professionally, it shouldn’t be a problem.
I was trapped in a cubicle for four years and I hated it. I recently quit and got a coaching position as the varsity coach for a high school women’s softball team. I also just started my own business, Take It Off Your Hands, creating slide shows for people (graduations, birthdays, anniversary, funerals, etc.) and celebrating lives. I enjoy travel and I am going to Europe (solo) this fall. I love to entertain, sing and dance. I want to have a fulfilling, unforgettable life.
After having shoulder surgery I was looking for creative ways to be active (I ran my fist marathon last year and I have lots of energy). Each day I try something new; whether it is a spin class or a Carmen Electra video. I talk about staying fit, the struggles of life and try to be an inspiration for my followers.
“Do onto other as you would have them do onto you.”
Take risks! If you don’t take risks you’ll never reach your potential. Don’t live every day the same. Have courage. No one wants to be boring.
Dallas’s Blog: Alive for 365. http://alivefor365.blogspot.com/
Dallas’ Slide Business: Take It Off Your Hands: www.takeitoffyourhands.org