birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

It's Just a Damn Ball

Sports. It's shaped my views of gender every day since I sat at my first Notre Dame football game with my dad when I was about six years old.

It was around that time that I began to fall in love with sports. And the same word kept popping up "Tomboy." But why because a girl loves what a boy does is she considered a tomboy? But if a boy likes what a girl does (say fashion or expensive jewelry) is he not considered a girlie girl?

In fact, we tout all of the best athletes as male:

The best basketball player? Michael Jordan.
The best golfer? Tiger Woods.
The best tennis player? Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. You debate it.

But what about Serena Williams? What about Annika Sorenstam? Diana Turasi?

I'll have to admit that it took me no time to think of the best male athletes in each of those sports. And I had to think about the best female athletes for an extra second or two.

Why do we call a boy's high school team the Tigers or the Bears or the Rockets but when we refer to a girl's high school team we add the word "Lady" in front of it?

You see it every March: Why is their madness around the men's NCAA basketball tournament, but when the women's game is on, even a school's own alumnus will say "Oh, it's just the women's team."

No. It's an athlete, who worked hard at all hours of the day that you likely were sitting on your plump tooshie.

And then, when we do get a female athlete, then she better be hot and she better play that role. (I'm looking at you, Danica Patrick and Anna Kournikova.)

And you want to talk about the wage gap? Have you ever seen the winnings that a male athlete takes home versus a female athlete? The endorsement money that the top male tennis player brings home versus the top female one? Why are female athletes still fighting to make as much as male athletes? And in a sports where they literally run the same course: the World Marathons like New York City and Chicago, the prize winnings aren't the same for the first male finisher versus female.

Then there's the press box and the members of the press that cover those athletes. They're predominately male and a majority are white. When I wanted to join their club, I was literally laughed at.

That's why I love this quote from Ruth Ginsburg: "When I'm sometimes asked 'When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?' and I say, 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men and nobody's ever raised a question about that."

Girlie Girl

Growing up Greek