Sunday, May 15, 2011


Kyle's Babe Ruth Baseball team is Couptopia, a sponsor he finds acceptable only because the uniforms put an exclamation point after the name. All the team moms are quite pleased, and this may be influencing the boys' disapproval. Baseball teams usually have sponsors that are more butch, like plumbing & heating, but I can't see how a septic service - one of the other teams in the league - wins out over a coupon site.

Gender roles are pretty distinct in the league, if you just glance quickly. Dads have all the on-field roles of coaching, field grooming, and substitute umpiring, Moms run the concession stand and organising the food drive. It doesn't take more than a few minutes of conversation to discover that these people do a lot of things in their lives that don't fit traditional gender roles, however.

It's not hard to figure out why volunteers are just put into expected slots, though. No one wants the bother of doing any more organising than is necessary, and it's just more efficient. There certainly are women who know how to groom a pitcher's mound, but the law of averages says that when you are just picking people out of the crowd and asking, you've not only got better odds that the guy will know how to do this (while his wife is a better percentage guess for setting out the condiments and plasticware in a manner that is not going to be a disaster when the rush comes), you've also got the guilt thing working in your favor immediately. If the guy doesn't know, he's going to feel that he should, and be leery of admitting it. Baseball mom is similarly unlikely to raise a sudden fuss about expectations because a)someone might then ask her to ump third base, b)she's learned over years the skill of identifying which woman is in charge of the kitchen and just going along with that, and c)why in the world would people want extra conflict in their day over something so temporary?

Young people, or perhaps people without children, imagine it would be a fun experiment if everyone switched roles and haha! What would happen? By the time your kids get this far along, you know the answer: things would pretty much go just fine, with slightly less efficiency. One or two things would be "done wrong" that would bother the heck out of somebody - somebody who "has issues" anyway, as we say. Then we would all go home and 90% of us would forget it ever happened.

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