Last week, after addressing the women of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League at their annual reunion at a historical society in the Chicago area, I found myself impressed all over again with these strong and cheerful women.
They stood straight and spoke to each other (in person, and from the dais) in clear, forceful words, many of them with strong doses of humor. Gathered together, as they are each year, they greeted each other with their baseball nicknames, hugged, remembered the ones who had passed on, and talked about the good times they'd had, all with the most cheerful attitude. They told jokes and stories, took part in silly skits, welcomed visiting players from Australia, laughed at funny pictures of themselves, praised the vintage team members who played a baseball game with some of them, and assented to every request for an autograph or interview.
They seem like extraordinarily healthy people. I decided that either they were robust and energetic before they entered the League, or else being in the League made them so. Or both.
I know for sure that after a half-century, they still remember their experience in the League with great joy, deep pleasure, and much gratitude for the opportunity to play baseball in a league that demanded a high level of competence and where they achieved success and earned appreciation for their skill and efforts. They say it all the time, but they don't need to, because every movement they make expresses that pleasure.
Since I am their age and undergo the same age-related physical problems they have, I know that nobody in their 80s feels that "together" all the time. But they surely put on a good front. Even when disagreeing with each other about a policy the league might adopt, they remained pleasant and even jocular.
I've read a lot of interviews with these women as well as quotations from them in articles and books, and I can say now that, in person, they are just as amazing as they seemed in print.
More power to them! -- as if they needed it. I think of them as "the power ladies."