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WIDE WORLD OF (FEMALES IN) SPORTS

| Aug 25, 2008
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Dina’s Diner HeaderI guess the Olympics put me in a sporting frame of mind because all of the items have to do with “women in sport.” Which is not far down the list after “women in bed,” “women in low-cut blouses,” and “women in garter belts, stockings and high heels.”

SHE’S A GOOD SPORT

On August 17, 2008, many major daily newspapers ran an obituary for Dottie Collins, who died at age 84. If you aren’t familiar with the name Dottie Collins, she was one of the real-life women professional baseball players on whom the movie A League of Their Own was based.

As you may recall from the hoopla surrounding the movie’s release and popularity in 1992 (yes, 16 years ago!) the women’s professional baseball league was created in 1943 to fill the small void created by the absence of so many young male professional ballplayers in the minors and majors who went off to World War II. The women’s league hung on until 1954, long enough to see the American baseball populace through even the Korean War.

Dottie CollinsDottie was something of a phenom in the women’s game. She was a pitcher who threw underhand, sidearm, and overhand. She also had mastered curveballs, fastballs, and changeups. It was said she dazzled opposing batters. According to the obituary in the New York Times, Dottie pitched in a game in 1948 while she was four months pregnant. She had more than 20 wins in her first four seasons with the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Daisies. [You gotta love that team name.] She also threw 17 shutouts and had 293 strikeouts in 1945. She had an earned run average of 1.83 – which blows away almost all but the very best of the ERA stats accrued by the greatest male pitchers in Major League Baseball.

Dottie was also instrumental in the Baseball Hall of Fame’s section on the professional women’s league. In 1987-8, she used her contacts from the old women’s league to assist in collecting the artifacts that made up the first recognition of the women’s game for the mainstream Hall of Fame.

And like all great old-school ballplayers, she didn’t think too much of the current crop of pampered stars. She is quoted as telling a historian of the women’s league that: “I pitched and won both games of a doubleheader, once pitching underhand… I think I could have pitched a doubleheader overhand, too. I don’t think it would be that hard. Nowadays, the men can’t do it, but hell, they can’t do nothin’.”

You go (in peace) girl.

WHAT HAPPENED, MICHELLE?

Michelle WieA couple of years ago, I wrote a very flattering article about Michelle Wie, who at the time was a 16 year old female golf phenomenon. At the time I wrote the article, Michelle was well recognized in the sporting world as “a female Tiger Woods” who had all the skills and youth to set women’s golf on its ear. But the reason I wrote about Michelle back then was that some news outlet somewhere said that she was also transforming the fashion of women’s golf. The photos accompanying the article showed the improbably tall (6-foot) 16 year old Asian-American girl in kicky little outfits that showed off her athletic build and long, long, oh dear….long legs.

Then a funny thing happened on her way to the Olympus of women’s golf. It started by her trying to qualify for men’s PGA tournaments. Annika Sorenstam, the reigning queen of women’s golf, also tried this revolutionary approach to break the sex barrier. Both women failed pretty miserably. Along the way, they had to put up with some misogynistic comments from other male golfers and commentators along the way. But the fact remained that they both failed to get even close to making an impact on the men’s tour.

Then Michelle got a bit older, enrolled in Stanford University and – at some point – her game fell apart. She couldn’t even make cuts on the women’s tour. She withdrew from one women’s event with a questionable injury which some said was really a ploy to evade being thrown out altogether.

Now she is angling again to play in a men’s tournament, passing on the women’s British Open. She is managed by her parents and the supposition is that she is not getting good advice.

But she is still a (now street-legal) six-foot female athlete who looks good in golf skirts. Michelle, (to avoid an obvious double entendre, I can’t say that we’re “pulling for you”, but….) we’re hoping for a comeback, baby.

MALE – FEMALE – UH-OH

This is Olympic season (as I write this) and the New York Times had an opinion column on August 3, 2008 about gender testing of athletes in women’s games. The 2008 Beijing Games has established a “gender determination lab” that will use a battery of tests that will examine “physical appearance and take blood samples to test hormones, genes and chromosomes.”

The problem with that scientific approach, according to the column author, Jennifer Finney Boylan, is that nature has not been that strict about doling out appearances or chromosomes along pure socially-tested gender norms. The history of gender testing of female athletes is rife with errors or “false positives.”

Stella WalshThere is a naturally occurring thing called androgen insensitivity that means the female body does not respond to the Y chromosome information in their own body. The female in which this occurs (about 1 in 20,0000 – not that small when you consider there must be some billion-plus women on the planet) is not aware of the condition and they live their lives and are identified by everyone as “female.”

Ms. Boylan began her column about gender testing with a very interesting anecdote from the 1936 Olympics. The 100 meter women’s race was won by a woman from the U.S. named Helen Stephens, who defeated a Polish woman sprinter who was recognized as the “fastest woman in the world.” A Polish journalist complained that Ms. Stephens must be a man because no woman could run that fast (and beat his female countryperson). A gender test performed by Olympic officials concluded that Stephens was a female. Flash forward forty-four years later and the Polish female sprinter had become an American citizen and was living in the Cleveland, Ohio area with the name Stella Walsh. Ms. Walsh was killed in a discount store shooting in Cleveland and during her autopsy it was revealed that the former Polish Olympian (the “fastest woman in the world”) was genetically a male.

My partly-Polish father-in-law used to exclaim at such times something that sounded like “Mosh-ku-bush-ka!” You never know: that manly-looking chick may be all woman and the sleek sprinter may be all man. God likes to laugh too.

MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT – WHO KNEW?

Another Olympic themed article in the New York Times from August 22, 2008 concerned the performance of male and female runners. The question at hand was whether female runners could ever close the performance gap with male runners. At one time, researchers were confident that with more training and perfected techniques women might one day narrow the running times that separate men and women runners.

Now, according to the experts quoted in the Times article, that is unlikely to happen. There are differences between the sexes that have to do with physical realities. An easy one to understand is that men’s hearts are bigger and grow bigger with exercise. Women who also exercise – even at Olympian levels – do not grow their hearts as big as men under the same exercise regimens.

When researchers took sedentary men (i.e. non-athletes) and trained them to perform against females, the men’s hearts – and performances – improved over the women by easy margins.

Just to be clear, a woman who is a real athlete can outperform a male non-athlete or even a more casual male athlete. But at the Olympian level, the females are at a physiological disadvantage. Back in the day when East German female athletes became the stereotypical gender-doping cheaters, they proportionally out performed their performance-doping male counterparts because getting over the gender differences trumps run-of-the-mill performance enhancements easily.

That old bastard testosterone also plays a role in helping men out perform women in athletics. It assists the body to build Type 2 muscle fibers that help improve athletic performance compared to women. Men also create more red blood cells than women. So they got that going for them – which is nice.

After reviewing the Times article and writing this item for my faithful readers (you know who you are if you got this far), I started to think that crossdressing was a waste of time because being full-on male is where it’s at. We’re better, faster, and stronger than women. Then I saw the women’s gymnastic competition. I want to look like that in a leotard. Fuck speed and strength.


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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender Opinion

dina

About the Author ()

I started crossdressing and going out publicly in 1988. I joined the Renaissance group in the Philadelphia area that year and later became chapter leader for two years in the '90s. I always enjoyed writing and wrote for the Renaissance newsletter and magazine throughout my membership years. I've been writing for TGForum for several years now. I also contributed items to LadyLike magazine and other TG publications before the advent of the internet. My hobby-within-a-hobby is singing live as my alter-ego Dina Sinatra and I have had the opportunity to do that with several accommodating performers and in a number of venues over the years since the mid-1990s. In the Diner column items here, I try to relate crossdressing or transgender themes (and my own pet peeves and fetishes) to the larger world -- and vice versa.

Comments (2)

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  1. angela_g angela_g says:

    Being the all powerful Editor I can update things anytime. So, I have put Stella’s name back where it was supposed to be (no clue how it went astray) and not only that, I bolded it to boot!

  2. Michelle Michelle says:

    The missing name of the Olympian runner is Stella Walsh (where’s the editor when you need her? Though considered her Polish name was Stanislawa Walasiewiczowna, maybe it’s just as well). Anyway, Stella wasn’t really found to be a male, but intersexed. At 69 and while out shopping she was accidentally killed by a stray bullet during a hold-up. The Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office autopsy discovered she had mosaicism, a condition of having both male and female chromosomes. Chromosomally she was mostly but not all male. Some reports also said she had both ovaries and testicles but no one knows for sure, her body was pretty androgynous. There really is no Olympic controversy – the International Olympic Committee reviewed her case afterward and let her medals stand. But Walsh remains controversial elsewhere and her condition has still denied her entrance to the Ohio Hall of Fame, although she was admitted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.

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