Frequently Asked Questions

1.  When do we have weather cancellations?

We cancel when there is lightning in the area.  We generally otherwise play, even in the rain.  (This is when we teach the girls to slide!)  But, if the field is in poor (and potentially dangerous) condition due to inclement weather, then we will not play.

The weather is often fickle, so the decision to cancel often cannot be made until the very last minute (which, I understand, is not a good thing if you are trying to plan your day).  I send out mass emails and post a notice at the top of our website ... when I know in advance that we will not be playing.  

Here is Andy's contact information:
  • mobile telephone number is: 215-565-5850
  • number for texting is: 215-565-5850
  • email: ATLamas@sas.upenn.edu
In most cases of weather cancellations, I go to the field anyway and leave a sign and/or just tell those who arrive at the field that we are not going to play. 

I advise you to use your common sense and your own ideas about whether the weather is suitable for your Wild Thing. 

But, be on guard about asking the question "Would I want to play today?" ... rather than the (better) question "Would my daughter like to play today?"  Many of the girls love playing in the rain, especially a gentle spring rain when the temperature is comfortable and the wind is tame ... and the boys' games have been canceled.  Oh, that is so sweet!   (A few years ago, I got a call from the older group of teens who wanted me to meet them at the field; it was the middle of December, and it was snowing.  I can tell you that we will never forget it.)

2.  Is there an attendance policy?

Absolutely not!  If you make having fun mandatory, then where's the fun in that? 

Having said this, I do believe that regular practice helps the girls to develop their skills as well as their knowledge of the game.  It increases their comfort and their confidence.  It helps them to build relationships with the other girls and the coaches.

On the other hand, I realize that our modern situation is such that many of the girls have multiple (and often overlapping and conflicting) commitments.  My own sense is that academic work and family obligations take precedence over activities like Wild Things.  But, there is no penalty or consequence or stigma for absences.  Many of the girls are only able to attend once a week due to other obligations.  

The girls will always be made to feel welcome regardless of when or how often they come to the field.

3.  What about brothers and dogs on the field?

Please keep the brothers and dogs of Wild Things girls off of the playing areas of the field during our games and practices.  (Dogs on leashes are welcome!) Thank you for your cooperation. 

Note: I love boys!  I have two brothers, a son, a father, and uncles that I love very much.  I also have a wonderful dog -- a golden retriever named Emma!  (She was named after Emma Goldman -- a radical if there ever was one, and she (Emma Goldman) was featured on our 2013 Wild Things t-shirts.)  If anyone is interested in the reason for this policy about brothers and dogs, I would be happy to respond to any comments or questions.                                                                                                                                            

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own, 1929

4.  What about a girl who is reluctant to join or who resists coming to the field?

This may mean a few different things.  She may just not be interested in playing, she may not be sure she wants to play and just have some anxiety about joining in, or any other number of things.  She may not even be thinking about softball at all ..., but she may have something else bothering her; something else may be the source of her reticence or anxiety.  

Here's what I think about this matter: 

This first point is obvious, but I will be explicit: someone may have a perfectly wonderful life without playing softball. So, I think we should avoid making this decision into a dramatic, traumatic event in the life of a young girl. My general attitude is to love a child and support her in her own interests

Having said this, I think what we are doing in Wild Things is different than what is conventionally done with children's sports, so she may not really understand what we are doing -- and how we are doing it -- until she experiences Wild Things.  Using a strategy like the following may be helpful: "Let's try it out once and see if you like it. If you do not like it, we will find something else to do!" 

If you have a sense that she would like to play but that she is really embarrassed or nervous for whatever reason ( e.g., she thinks she is not an athlete, she is nervous about failing in front of others, she does not like sitting on the grass, she has concerns about her body, she believes that a real or perceived disability will make her the object of unwarranted and unpleasant attention), then please call me on the phone -- cell: 215-565-5850, and we can work out a strategy. Sometimes this means having one of my older players and me come early to the field or to your backyard and just informally play ball with her--to get her acclimated.  (Whenever we have done this in the past, all has worked out well.) Other times it means that -- having been alerted to your daughter's situation -- I can construct a few situations early on in the season where she will be guaranteed to experience success.  (What generally follows is a boost in confidence, and then all works out well.)

5.  What about the dress code and equipment?

There is no dress code, and you are not required to purchase any special equipment for the girls.  

We have extra gloves.  Most of the girls, but not all of the girls, have their own gloves.  Most girls, particularly if they decide they really like softball, will want their own gloves.  (As you make this decision, you may want to be aware of and sensitive to the gender issues ... e.g., if your daughter has a brother with his own glove.)  No special shoes are required ... just something comfortable for playing/running outside.  Sneakers are perfect.  

Some of the girls want to go barefoot once it gets really hot.  (This probably increases slightly the chances of injury; however, it is so fun to be in the grass in your bare feet.  You should work this out with your daughter.)  I generally wear long pants to the field, in case I fall or decide to slide into a base.  Most of the girls tend to wear short pants, particularly once the weather gets hot.  The girls get creative with their attire: what a wonderful thing.       

6.  What about the uniforms?                                                                                                                       

We have a longstanding tradition of distributing very cool t-shirts and caps to every Wild Thing each year.  I have always liked having t-shirts and caps; but, in recent years, the girls have become uninterested in wearing the caps.  So, as of the 2017 season, we will not be handing out caps.  So, we will just have t-shirts. (I have lots of extra caps from past seasons, and I will bring these to the field for anyone who wants a cap).
  • There is no additional charge for these t-shirts and caps.
  • We order the t-shirt size you indicate on the registration form.
    • If -- for some reason -- you forget to register, we will still make our best efforts to get your daughter a t-shirt.                                                                                                        (BUT, please register so we will have your contact information and emergency contact information as well as the size of your daughter's t-shirt.)
    • The caps are one-size-fits-all.   The t-shirts come in various sizes.
  • Some adults also order t-shirts for themselves; for these adults, the t-shirts are $15.  
      • Yes, we usually have some extra t-shirts if you would like to purchase extras later in the season.
  • I will bring all of the t-shirts to each practice (once they arrive).   If you will not be at the field to collect your Wild Thing's t-shirt, please have a friend pick them up for you.  Alternatively, you may make other arrangements with Andy to get them.
  • IF YOUR DAUGHTER ENDS UP WITH A T-SHIRT that is too large or too small, please see me at the field or send me an email, and we will try to get her another t-shirt.

7.  What about safety for the girls?                                                                                                              

We do Wild Things for fun and to learn, but we want to try to keep the girls safe while they are playing on the field.

We use soft softballs, so the balls are not as dangerous as regular softballs and baseballs; however, the bats -- wooden and metal -- are hard, 
and the bats are dangerous -- very dangerous -- when not used appropriately.  Accidents do happen, even in the safest sports programs.  Please speak to your daughters about safety, and please help us keep the girls safe. If you are able be present when we practice and play, you are welcome to come over to the field and help us keep the 

Audre Lorde

Please have several conversations during the season with your daughter(s) about safe behavior on the field.

Generally speaking, the main thing we need to do is to help the girls pay attention to what is happening around them.  Put another way, we need to help the girls be aware of where they are -- in relation to others -- as they are doing things (e.g., swinging bats) and as things -- on and off the field -- are happening.  Just intervene as appropriate, or see Andy, and he will give you something helpful to do. 

7.  Why do things seem so loose and unstructured?

There is a method to the madness. 

Many of the girls' lives (like our own) are filled with things that we must do or that we should do ... in order to get this, that, or the other thing ... now or later in life.  So much of what we ask our children to do is about preparing them for what comes next ... because -- as we sometimes tell them -- they will not be children forever.   Like you, I know all about this, because I am a parent (of a 38-year-old young woman -- one of the original Wild Things! -- and of a 25-year-old young man).  

Some girls really want to develop advanced skills in softball and learn the fine points of the game, while other girls participate for a whole host of other reasons. We are here for all of the girls, and we hope to help them all learn how to be here for one another.

So, along with necessity, requirement, and responsibility, let's make some room for silliness, joy, and dancing around the bases the "wrong" way.  We have tried to present Wild Things as something that is chosen for the sake of just having fun and enjoying the here and now ... celebrating childhood, our community, imagination, sports, the outdoors.  If you can help us support this approach, I think we can create something wonderful with and for our girls. 

"If I can't dance [and play softball],
then I don't want to be a part of your revolution."
 —Emma Goldman 

And, perhaps there will be lasting consequences, too.  As a teacher, I have a sense that our world -- with all of its beauty but also all of its suffering and injustice -- needs us to help our children develop new sensibilities ... even perhaps beyond our own ... to help them cope with life's absurdities but also to join in the struggle of challenging unnecessary conventions and imagining new and better ways of living, working, and playing together. 

-- Andy Lamas