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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The Men Who Said I Couldn't

Dear Men Who Said I Couldn't,

I didn't forget your grin. Or the way you laughed at my hopes and dreams. I heard you when you said, I couldn't. I would never. There was no way. And to maybe write about fashion instead. But you never sat next to me in the stands at a game or on the couch over the weekend as I flipped between games.

You didn't know that when I was growing up and the remote was in my dad's hand, sports were always on. Sometimes on NASCAR. Occasionally on basketball. A lot of football. But almost always on golf. He used to yell at the little white ball on the television screen to "Get in the hole." I never understood why he was yelling in a sport that only seemed to politely clap.

You didn't know that I always used to ask who we were rooting for and my dad would say, 'We're not. We're just watching.' How I learned to dissect a game and pick out plays. How he taught me that it wasn't just about the star player on the team, but the team.

You didn't sit next to me at all of those Cubs game, while I held a scorecard and taught myself how to keep score because I thought that's what he would one day teach me to do. You didn't understand that when you told me I couldn't, I would work my hardest to prove you wrong.

But if I could go back, I wouldn't change any of those times you said, 'There's no way a girl can cover sports.' I wouldn't change the times where you decided to hit on me and I politely set you in your place. Or you decided to challenge my knowledge and you trying to play Pardon the Interruption with me because you ran out of what you knew.

I'm glad you told me I couldn't because for the last 10 years, I've proved to myself that I can.

The Texas Howler

Laughing Monkeys?