Find something that you’re really interested in doing in your life. Pursue it, set goals and commit yourself to excellence. Do the best you can. -Chris Evert
The Olympics have recently ended, and there were a trio of athletes who left me awestruck at their level of mastery of their sport as compared to the rest of their field. Every one of Shaun White’s halfpipe runs simply outclassed the other competitors, as did Lindsay Vonn’s downhill run (did you see how steady she kept her skis as compared to everyone else?), and — perhaps in particular — I believe that Yu-Na Kim’s short and long programs in figure skating would have won her a gold medal in every single competition I’ve ever seen.
They say it’s lonesome at the top, so here’s the Lonesome Moonlight Waltz for you to listen to.
It got me thinking, are there any major US sports (football, baseball, basketball, or hockey) where a woman could make it at the highest levels, competing side-by-side with the men? What I turned up astounded me.
Meet Eri Yoshida. Two years ago, she was the first female drafted by the Japanese major leagues. In 2009, she pitched in eleven games for the Kobe Cruise 9 of the Kansai Independent Baseball League, and this winter, came to the United States to play for the Yuma Scorpions of the Arizona Winter League.
Not surprisingly, she has plenty of detractors, saying she can’t throw hard enough (her fastball tops out at 63 mph) to compete at the highest levels. After his session with her, what did Tim Wakefield have to say? (Quoted from the Boston Herald, emphasis mine.)
I had seen film of her and I was pretty impressed at the film. But to see her person and to actually see her throw, I was very impressed with how she threw and the knowledge she had on the knuckleball because she told me she was self-taught.
This is the first time she’s actually ever had coaching throwing a knuckleball. I kind of know where she’s at because I was there when I first started throwing. Nobody knew what to do. It’s pretty cool that I’m able to give back to somebody that wants to carry on the tradition of throwing a knuckleball.
She has stated that her goal is to play professional baseball, and that she would love to play in the United States’ major leagues. Could she be the one to do it? I’m cheering for her, and I hope we’ll hear more about her soon!
Eri Yoshida is eighteen years old.