A few days ago, I went to watch my little sister umpire a softball game, and since the game wasn’t totally riveting (the average age was probably 9 years old), I did some field work without moving from my spot on the top bleacher.
Disclaimer: This post is totally heteronormative. In fact, it’s the epitome of heteronormative.
What I was paying most attention to was the male brains vs. the female brains around me. Ever since I read Louann Brizendine’s books (aptly titled The Female Brain and The Male Brain) a few years ago, I’ve been convinced that we’re not only physically different, but there are a lot of physiological differences in our brains that make males and females quite different creatures.
The first subjects I observed were two boys, probably about 8 years old. They were about a foot away from me, but had no idea I was even there, despite the fact that I’m a far from subtle observer. They had a bat and a ball, and were standing about 3 feet from each other. One would toss the ball, and the other would hit it back at his friend. I hypothesized that the object of the game was to actually hit the tosser, but it was hard to confirm this because very little actual conversation took place. There was a lot of laughing and many comments like “Got you!” and “Did not!” And that concluded their interaction.
Then I saw two girls, about the same age, sitting on a seat behind me. They didn’t seem to have the same urge to be constantly moving, as the males did. Instead, they chatted. “I don’t even feel like having ice cream today,” the first one told her friend. The other agreed, “I don’t think I’m going to order any.” Their conversation was collaborative, building off of what the other said, affirming the other’s comments by agreeing. Furthermore, they were planning- they must have known they were going out to ice cream later, and they were thinking about whether they would order any.
These observations seemed overwhelmingly in line with Brizendine’s arguments about the differences between the male and female brains. My final subjects were the parents sitting in front of me- a mom and a dad. The mom had packed a cooler (I suspected this just by looking at the organizational system in place inside the cooler, but later conversation confirmed my suspicion); the dad consumed the contents. The mom worried aloud about whether her daughter would have time to each her PB&J between innings; the dad nodded in reply and cheered for the player who had just made a great catch. The mom complimented another mom on her new purse; the dad ragged on another dad for drinking a Diet Coke.
Who ever knew such valuable field work could be done at a ball game?