Women's baseball isn't well known - yet.
That could change on our campus, however, with the Miami Women's Baseball Club.
The team was started in the fall semester of 2016 by Callie Maddox, a professor in the kinesiology and health department. It is the only known collegiate women's baseball club in the United States, Maddox said.
Maddox started the club because there are so many young girls involved with baseball at an early age that are then forced to switch to softball. She doesn't want them to have to quit something they love.
"Traditionally, in American society, girls and women have been told to play softball," Maddox said. "There are plenty of girls who play Little League Baseball, who love baseball, but then are forced or told to switch to softball … A lot of girls have seen their baseball dreams fade away because we replace baseball with softball for women."
Maddox wanted to change that.
When she first started the club, it had about 15 members. Since then, membership has stayed in the 10-20 range. This includes not only women but also men who help coach the club. They're scheduled to have an open-to-the-public recruiting meeting in McGuffey Hall on Sept. 26.
"Everybody's welcome," Maddox said. "Faculty members, staff, students, members of the community - we're very welcoming to everybody."
So far in its existence, the club has only ever held practices. Because Miami is the only college with a women's baseball club, finding other teams to play can be difficult. However, the club has reached out to women's baseball teams in Chicago and Washington, D.C. In addition to that, there is a women's baseball tournament in Florida every November. Competing in that is the team's ultimate goal.
The players have everything they need to compete, including the equipment and uniforms.
"Now it's just a matter of getting people interested," Maddox said. "Getting that impetus to really get out there and travel so we can play some games."
For Maddox, this is not only about women's baseball at Miami, but about growing the women's game everywhere.
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While it may not be popular yet, women's baseball is on the rise. There is a U.S. Women's National Team, as well as a Women's Baseball World Cup, which started in 2004. Japan has a women's baseball league named the JWBL, which was founded in 2009.
In the U.S., however, opportunities for women's baseball are slim. Besides the national team and rec leagues, there are not many opportunities for women to play. Maddox hopes this club will change that, specifically at the collegiate level.
"The big dream would be to have a network of collegiate women's clubs," Maddox said. "Miami has very successful club sports teams, and they all belong to these regional and national networks. So the big dream would be to start to create that and to have other universities start women's baseball clubs as well."
Above all else, the Miami Women's Baseball Club is open to all new members, regardless of experience.
"Our goal is that we want everybody to feel welcome, no matter your skill level," Maddox said. "If you've never played before, that's fine.
"We have a glove for you to use."