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In a league of their own

Alex Doty • Apr 15, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The Grand Haven library on Thursday hosted a screening of a movie highlighting the girls' baseball league of the 1940s and ’50s.

It felt more like an afternoon at the ballpark than an evening at the library.

Calls for “programs!”, “popcorn!” and “cold (root) beer!” echoed through the lower level of Loutit District Library on Thursday evening.

The ballpark flavor was a part of the library’s screening of a documentary called “A Team of Their Own.“ The film created by a team from Grand Valley State University highlights girls’ baseball leagues from the 1940s and ’50s.

Robinson Township resident Frank Boring, a GVSU professor and co-producer of the film, said it was born out of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, a program aimed at documenting veterans stories.

”I wanted to expand the scope of the veterans history project, because a lot of people were misunderstanding it and thinking it was all about white guys with guns,“ Boring said. ”I contacted the Library of Congress Veterans History director and said, ’Rosie the Riveter was recently put into the Library of Congress — what about Rosie the Right Fielder?’“

Boring said he formally announced his intentions to do the project in 2005.

”Several years went by before I could get the funding to go to one of the reunions,” he said. “We ended up going to two reunions and got 47 interviews.”

Production of the film wrapped up in October 2015 and it premiered at GVSU later that month.

James Christie, a GVSU alumnus and film editor, said he enjoyed his experience working on the documentary.

“To get a chance to preserve the stories of these women, it was really an incredible offer,” he said. ”It was something I couldn’t pass up.“

But the project wasn’t without its challenges.

”One of the most challenging parts is we get all of these stories,“ Christie said. ”How do you cut that down into a one-hour documentary? It’s difficult cutting the things you want to keep in.“

For all of the players’ stories, Boring said people can log on to the GVSU Veterans History website. He also noted that the information will be at the Library of Congress, with video transcripts with a searchable database.

Miss out on Thursday night’s showing? Spring Lake District Library will host a screening of the documentary at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28.

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