Deaf Female Baseball Player Breaking through Barriers


My name is Jill Bianco. Girls and Women have watched
Men’s Sports with envy and desire to join them. Sometimes, there would be
no women’s team available. They’d end up wishing they
could join men’s teams but cannot be allowed to join. That’s not true! NOT TRUE! I play on a professional
men’s baseball team. I’ve even joined on an
all-deaf-men’s softball team. It’s just one female playing
on an all-men’s team. In sports, there is equality
among men and women! Growing up, I was always
heavily immersed in softball. That love came from both my
father and my grandmother. When I was little, they
would test out my skills by tossing a softball. With a bat, I swung at it
and got a hit on the first try. They knew I had the talent. They signed me up for a
league that’s when I just fell further in love with the game. This is my very first glove
from when I was little. This is my very first softball
uniform from when I was little, around 8 years old. This is my men’s league team
that has won a championship. One day, my life changed. This. Baseball. I was trying to join
a women’s team offering to serve as a substitute. One women’s team emailed me
and said the team was having a try-out that Saturday
and that I was invited. I thought, “Women’s
baseball team? Oh please. It must be a scam. Craigslist is
famous for these scams.” I just deleted that
email and ignored it. 2-3 days later, they reached out
to me again with a long list of information about their Chicago
Gems women’s traveling baseball team. Maybe this was a real deal? Why not? I have nothing to lose so I show
up and there were actually women there playing baseball. My jaw hit the floor. I went ahead
and joined the team. It was a first time
I’d held a baseball. I was used to softballs. I threw the baseball
and it didn’t go very far. My heart sank into my stomach. That’s the extent
of my skills? No. I took a couple
steps back and threw some more. The other players laughed and
said it was normal to have a rough transition
from softballs to baseballs. I decided to be proactive
and practiced hard. I started going to
national tournaments where I would get MVP. I was so impressed by many of
these women who were so bulky. They could really throw. I would swing and miss. They actually had high-level,
competitive women’s baseball. Many of them
joined men’s league. I knew in my heart
this was what I wanted. I signed up for a draft for
a men’s baseball league. There were over 100 men
much bigger than myself. I didn’t care because I KNEW I
had the talent and confidence. I would consistently hit the
baseball hard when other men would swing and miss. I actually ended up being
drafted into the men’s league. I was ecstatic! This is my second
year playing softball in the Midwest Complex Softball League. They reached out to me
asking if I wanted to play. I was up for it! I looked at the list of players. They were all males until
I saw the name, “Jill”. I think it was neat having a
woman as a part of the league. I was fine with that, sure! I was surprised that Jill
joined the men’s league. She’s good too! She plays HARD. She puts the ball out the park,
gets hits and brings in runs. I was impressed. I thought it was great that
she’s a big help to the team! I’m grateful for her. I really think women could
participate in men’s league. They can! I have a lot of
respect for them. Felt welcomed. Even occasionally told, “Good
hit” and they’re supportive. I’ve enjoyed working with the
deaf men’s team and hope to continue that. It’s been a very rich
experience for me. It’s shown that women can move
up and play at a high level. If you really want to join a
men’s football team, rugby or any other strong male-dominated
sports, go ahead and join! Yes, go ahead…you can! It’s important to remember to
train HARD, show HEART, have CONFIDENCE, hone your skills, be
PATIENT and RESPECTFUL. PERSEVERE through challenges. Show them that women CAN. Captioned by DPAN: www.dpan.tv

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