I was a feminist long before I got married or became a dad to two daughters or before the word became such a weighty and divisive term.
All my life, I have had strong women who taught me and challenged me and shaped the way I live and think. Although it is impossible to list all of their names, here is a small, small sample:
Sheri, Katy, Jamie, Kaylea, Sophie, Pam, Jan, Ann, Teri, Cheryl, Liz, Ruth, Laurel, Virginia, Mary, Sandy, Eva, Kristy, Alison, Amy, Angela, Krystal, Jennifer, Bethany, Brenda, Carrie, Casey, Emily, Jen, Judy, Katrina, Kim, Kelly, Lauren, Libby, Lisa, Sue, Pamela, Mandie, Megan, Sarah, Courtney, Erica, Shawna, and Coach.
These phenomenal women have worked, volunteered, taught, and encouraged anyone and everyone who has crossed their paths.
Of course, baseball is a game for all people. I loved the stories Bob told me about the women ballplayers in the Negro Leagues. I once even visited with a player from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Her name was Dolly and her joy was contagious.
On International Women’s Day, I was truly honored to play catch with Jaimie. She found a way to squeeze sufficient time to meet me and toss a ball.
Jaimie is Senior Director of Community Engagement at Convoy of Hope. She’s been there five years, but I first met her on campus at then-SMSU. I’ve been blessed and zinged by her wit and wisdom. Through her work, she’s traveled around the world — Kenya, Haiti, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. While learning how to make jewelry with Maasai women, which involved rolling up the legs of her pants, Jaimie revealed the whitest legs those women have ever seen.
“They kept bringing over more women just to see my white legs.”
Of course I laughed at her story, but I also sympathized. I do not remember the last time my feet saw the sun.
Jaimie met me after giving a speech at Convoy’s World Distribution Center, a call to action for the Women’s Empowerment Program.
“A one-time donation of $1,000 is an investment that can not only change a woman’s life through trade and training, but also the culture of a community.”
Convoy’s program has a 97% success rate of moving people out of poverty.
“Every day I see the impact of my work, of kids having sufficient food and not being hungry anymore, of women who realize their strength and dignity.”
We continued to laugh as we tossed the ball and ever-so-briefly caught up on life stories.
Jaimie and I share a similar gift set. We tell stories, we make friends, we share hope.
Jaimie’s work, however, is literally changing the world, and that is worth celebrating today and every day.