Philly girls. It’s a term of endearment that anyone from the City of Brotherly Love has probably used at one time. Famous Philly girls include Patti LaBelle, Jill Scott and even I-flipped-being-a-celeb-girlfriend-into-fame-without-having-to-do-reality-TV Amber Rose. The list is long of women with a certain kind of verve and nerve and personality who were born in the 215 area code, but one thing they all have in common is that these Philly girls are actually women. Until now.
Mo'ne Davis is the latest Philly girl that the world is celebrating. And she's only 13, barely a teenager. At the age when most of us were sneaking makeup, nurturing crushes and giggling nonstop with our friends, Mo'ne is pitching shutout games in the Little League World Series (the first girl to ever do that) and taking her team, the Taney Dragons, to a record season. Sports Illustrated made her this week’s cover because she is by far the most talked about phenomena in the sports world, but Mo'ne has been doing plenty of jaw-droppings things off of the pitch, including being an honor student at one of Philadelphia’s hardest schools. Add to that the fact that her passion sport isn't even baseball, it's basketball and she wants to play both.
It’s an understatement to say that there's a lot this 13-year-old can teach the rest of us —especially the grown women who have grown too comfortable in believing they have all the answers. It doesn't matter if you have never spent a nanosecond of your life dreaming of playing a sport, Mo’ne still has a message worth hearing. All of us have devoted time — maybe even years — harboring a desire to do something that someone said girls didn't do or women didn't do or people your race/age/income level didn't do. And maybe you didn't do it because the obstacles seemed too great and there was a total lack of support from others. But the next time there’s a challenge, think of Mo’ne. She didn’t join Little League to get on the cover of a magazine, she did it because she wanted to try it. The accolades are a far second behind the courage it took to step up and do something unexpected and unfamiliar. And it’s her bravery — not her 70 mph fastball — that all of us would be wise to make our own.
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(Photo: Sports Illustrated Magazine, August 25 2014)