On the surface, the film like “A League of Their Own” might not appear to be the kind of movie that would inspire a life lesson. It seems like a light-hearted baseball film about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League … but to people like me, it’s much more than that.
At the time of the film’s release in 1992, I was just nine years old. My mother, knowing I was a huge baseball fan, opted to take me to see the movie. In retrospect, “A League of Her Own” seemed like an odd choice to take a young boy to see when other kid-friendly movies like The Mighty Ducks and 3 Ninjas were in theatres.
Nevertheless, I’m glad my mom did take me to see “A League of Her Own” because it taught me a lot of things. Along with “there’s no crying in baseball”, there was one very other very important life lesson.
It all stemmed from the pivotal scene near the end of the film where (SPOILER ALERT) there’s a collision at home and Dottie drops the ball after her sister Kit collides into her at the plate.
When I saw the movie as a nine year old boy, I just assumed that Dottie dropped the ball because the impact at the plate simply jarred the ball from her hand. But as the ever wise Anne Donahue pointed out on Twitter, “Adulthood is realizing Dottie dropped the ball on purpose”.
20 years after the fact, I can now finally grasp that concept.
Dottie was indeed a fierce competitor and so too was her sister Kit. However, Kit admittedly lived in the shadow of her older sister her entire life. “You ever hear Dad introduce us to people? “This is our daughter Dottie, and this is our other daughter, Dottie’s sister.”
When both sisters joined the Rockford Peaches, perhaps Kit thought that was her opportunity to finally step outside the shadow of her holder sister. But once again, she found herself being compared to Dottie and it reiterated what she had known all her life – that Kit never really had anything to call her own.
Fast forward once again to the pivotal scene in the film; after Kit gave up two runs in the top of the ninth (courtesy of a two RBI hit from her sister nonetheless), Dottie looked over from behind the plate and noticed her sister bawling her eyes out in the dugout. It was at that very moment where we see the first true sign of humility from Dottie towards Kit.
However, once Kit came to the plate, the fierce competitor in Dottie kicked in once again. With the game on the line, she told her pitcher to throw nothing but high fastballs to Kit, which was her apparent weakness.
Kit couldn’t hit high fastballs to save her life, and yet with two strikes and two out, she did the unthinkable and connected on a pitch to deep centre field.
As Kit rounded third base and headed for home, it was like the two sister’s lives flashed before their eyes. With Kit, her entire life was leading up to this moment; if she scored, she could finally step out of the shadows of her older sister. With Dottie, she was essentially standing in the way of her kid sister’s dream.
Ultimately, Dottie decided to step out of the way of fate and dropped the ball after the collision at the plate. We’ll never know for sure whether Dottie did it on purpose, but one would think Dottie let go of the ball and let her sister win.
After all, Kit needed the win way than Dottie did. Dottie had a husband and was looking to start a family of her own. A win in the women’s World Series would just be another notch in Dottie’s proverbial belt. That game was not a make or break moment in her life … but it was for Kit.
Once Dottie saw Kit’s teammates hoist her in the air in celebration, that’s the moment Dottie knew they were finally on an even playing field for the first time in their lives. No longer was it just Dottie and Dottie’s sister, they were Dottie and Kit.
I guess what the movie “A League of Their Own” really taught me was humility. “A League of Their Own” taught me to be humble, and it taught me to be grateful. It taught me that there are some people out there that could really use a win more than others.
That’s what I’ll take away from “A League of Their Own”.
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