Illinois’ Sterling Girls Capture Little League World Champion Crown

Yoopie! Take me out to the ball game. I am going to jump on the bandwagon here and give a shout out to the folks back home in Sterling and their championship team. After all the gals of my generation helped build that wagon 40 years ago when Title IX passed into legislation, leveling the playing field by mandating equal opportunities (including sports) for girls in public education.

I applaud those pony-tailed girls with crooked grins on cusp of adolescence who whooped the world in a boys’ game. In my day, Little League was a private, male club that we never dreamed of one day entering.

Sterling vs Waco Texas

Sterling vs Waco Texas

I admire the pictures of those cute girls in baseball jerseys and can’t help but notice that the names of the three father coaches, matched those of three players. The coach/athlete, dad/daughter duo was an anomaly back in the day when my dad first taught my sisters and me to field grounders. Now it is the norm. Without a second thought, today’s dads fight to make sure their girls’ get their names on front page.

I have been out of the country too long – I had no idea that a Girls’ Little League World Championship existed. Yet, these little ladies are strutting their stuff on a Field of Dreams. « Today Little League, in existence since first in 1947 (for boys), is the largest youth sport organization with more than 25,000 softball teams and 360,000 participants worldwide. The program includes divisions of play for girls ages 5 to 18, which culminates at four Softball World Series tournaments for international competition and friendship.”

Hats off to Sterling, the Central Regional Championship Team, for winning 19 straight games and  defeating Waco, Texas in the world series final in Portland Oregon. This year the event, established for girls in 1974, drew clubs from Puerto Rico, Philippines, Canada and Italy, as well as Texas, California, Oregon, New York and North Carolina.

I was surprised to find out that teams existed abroad, yet the European, Middle East and African regional champs were from Italy this year, from Poland last year, and from Germany, the year before that. The American game has gone international. Though at my  school in Switzerland, I still teach softball as a ‘foreign’ sport because cricket (for men only) is considered the premier bat and ball game.

So yessiree,  take me out to the ball park. Give me some peanuts and crackerjacks and I don’t care if I never get back for it’s one two three, hip hip hurray for the Sterling Girls Little League World Champions. Thanks for putting my hometown on the globe in a grand slam effort inspiring girls worldwide.

Posted in education, sport.


  1. Pat, I get goosebumps reading this post. I am 57 and remember that in high school PE we had things like archery, ping-pong and square dancing. Now I have two granddaughters, 10 and 1, and I have very high hopes for them equality-wise. Thanks for the day-brightener.

    • Hope your granddaughters will enjoy all the opportunities available to girls today. If they do like sports, there is nothing better than team games for helping build physical strength, self-confidence and mental toughness in young women! Thanks for following.

  2. I’m with Lynne,Pat. I “get goosebumps” too reading your stories. I love them! I grew up in the era where girls did not have the opportunity to play in organized sports. I went on to have a daughter who played in high school basketball, softball,tennis and in college basketball. It was a joy to cheer her on and to live the dream vicariously through her. The lessons she learned on those courts and fields have been priceless. So I join you in cheering for the Sterling softball team’s achievement and for all girls who have the opportunity to play sports today. But I save my biggest cheer for you and your Dad for helping to pave the way~ Fantastic job!

    • Even though my generation had to pave the way, I always felt like I was lucky to have the opportunity to compete. Though you just missed out on that opportunity growing up, I hope you enjoy sports in adulthood. I have found walking, especially, good for the muse. Hope your daughter will pass on her love for the game to her children. And as ever thanks for your cheers!

  3. Pat…. what a fabulous rendition of why its so important and impressive that these girls WON a great title! Enjoy reading your articles, and totally remember not being able to play competitively. Much has changed since my graduation in ’74. also its great to see the picture of your Dad…. I always just think “Oh its Mr. McKinzie, one of the best people I ever knew”…..

    • We’ve come along way, baby! So much has changed for women since we graduated from high school back in the day of gym suits and separate girl/boy PE classes. Thanks for writing. I will be sure to pass on your kind words to my dad. Keep in touch!

  4. Pat
    Stumbled across your blog tonight, i am the manager of the Sterling All Stars that won the World Championship this year. Great writeup it really is special how many people were able enjoy this with us. Sterling and all of is residence past and present i hope felt like it was all of us that were world champs! This isnt something we did on our own there was much support this year and the years int he past.

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