My oldest daughter, Natalie, played softball from tee-ball all the way through high school.
My No. 2 daughter, Hillary, played softball until her league changed to fast-pitch and she couldn't hit the ball. Hillary switched to volleyball, but her high school team was stacked. They consistently won districts and competed in the state finals, winning a state championship. At slightly over 5 feet, there wasn't much room on that team for Hillary, so she transitioned to basketball, where she was the starting point guard even though she couldn't dribble left-handed. Not only did her team not compete for districts or win any state titles, they didn't win any games. Hillary also ran track and played a season of rugby in college.
My No. 3 daughter, Evien, plays basketball and volleyball. She attempted lacrosse, but was little more than a spectator even when she was in the game.
My youngest daughter, Maggie, plays softball.
Needless to say, I've spent a large portion of my adult life at stadiums, parks and gymnasiums watching young ladies play sports. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject.
Therefore, in my expert opinion, girls' sports are boring. Don't misunderstand: It's not that the sports themselves are boring, the problem with girls' sports is they are played by girls.
OK, before all of you red-faced moms of budding female sports competitors start branding me a gender-bashing, narrow-minded, chauvinistic, intolerant, sexist megalomaniac, remember, I am an expert. And I don't even know what a megalomaniac is, but it's really fun to say. Go ahead, say it. Say it a couple of times. Fun, huh? Now don't you feel better?
If I were a superhero, I would want to be called Megalomaniac Man. I wouldn't even need any superpowers because the crime rate in Spring Lake is, like, zero.
Since I don't exactly know the meaning of megalomaniac, maybe it's a bad thing. Then I'd have to be a villain, but I couldn't call myself Megalomaniac Man because only superheroes get to put "Man" at the end of their names — Superman, Spiderman, Ironman. Villains can't use "Man" in their names. They are simply Joker, Riddler, Penguin.
OK, I can tell by your silence that my little distraction didn't work. You still want to know why I think girls' sports are boring? Well, then, as an expert, I have devoted several minutes conducting scientific research to back up my hypothesis, whatever that is. Actually, hypothesis is really fun to say, too. Try it. See what I mean? Maybe I could be Hypothesis Man.
All right, all right, I'll get on with it.
Millions of years ago, between the Pleistocene and the Paleocene periods (please don't check my facts), Cro-Magnon Man (another great superhero name) had not yet learned about agriculture. Therefore, these primitive creatures had to rely on hunting and gathering for survival.
To decide which gender would be the hunters and which would be the gathers, these early cave dwellers decided to play "rock, paper, scissors." Since paper and scissors weren't invented yet, each contest ended in a tie. Instead of waiting around for paper and scissors to be invented, they decided to speed up the process by flipping a coin. Since coins weren't invented yet, they decided to flip a rock.
The women, having superior intellect, and not wanting to gut mastodon for a living, set the rules. They said, "When we toss a rock into the air, if it comes down fossil side up, men will be the hunters and women will be the gatherers." In those days, every side of a rock had a fossil, so the men became hunters.
That is when men learned to be lonely, quiet and competitive. Men had to spend hours, sometimes days, waiting for a wooly mammoth to traipse by. Early man had to be quiet so he wouldn't frighten away his prey or get eaten by a saber-tooth tiger. Cro-Magnons also had to be competitive or their supper would consist of nuts and berries while their neighbor would be feasting on barbecued mastodon.
Women had babies, so they developed nurturing skills. They also were able to cultivate social skills because they could yak it up all day long and berries would not run away and nuts would not try to attack and kill them. Women had to learn how to be gentle while picking berries or they would squish them and they didn't know how to make jam yet. They learned to share and make sure everyone got a sufficient amount of nuts and berries because they never knew whose husband would come home from hunting empty-handed.
Therefore, whenever young ladies compete in sports, it goes against millions, maybe even thousands of years of gender evolution. When a girl tosses up a volleyball and prepares to serve, every molecule of estrogen coursing through her anatomy shouts out, "Be gentle! Don't hurt it!"
So, she gives the ball a light tap and it falls several feet short of the net. If she does happen to send the ball to the other side of the net, the opposing team members back away from it and have a conversation through osmosis (another great superhero name — Osmosis Man).
As the ball heads their way, the girls' wordless conversation goes like this: "You can get it.”
"No, you have it."
"Really, I don't mind if you get it."
"Seriously, I insist, you take it."
By this time, the ball is bouncing harmlessly across the gym floor and the other team is celebrating a point.
On the other hand, after eons of disappointing solitary pursuits, the testosterone flitting through a young man's body simply says, "Seek and destroy!" It makes for great sports.
Certainly, there are many gifted and dedicated female athletes. However, in my observations, most girls are just too nice to be very competitive.
Before you judge me too harshly, remember: I have spent decades standing on sidelines and sitting in bleachers watching girls' sports, and I have dedicated many moments in scientific research on the subject. Certainly, being a spectator doesn't make me a superhero, but it does make me an expert.
— By Grant Berry, Tribune community columnist
Editor’s note: Before you dial the Tribune to complain about Mr. Berry’s column, please know that it was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek.