Something special has been happening these past few days in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where Mo'ne Davis has been playing ball with the boys.
Make that "dominating" the boys.
The 13-year-old from South Philly has made history while leading her team in the Little League World Series. She's the first black girl to play there and the first girl to pitch a World Series win. Firing fastballs at 70 miles per hour against a team from Tennessee, she struck out eight batters and allowed only two hits for her second straight shutout. In another game, she became the sixth girl in World Series history to get a hit, driving in a run in what became a one-run victory.
Mo'ne has transformed the tired pejorative "throws like a girl" into high praise, and is a success story regardless of what happens tonight against a hard-hitting squad from Las Vegas.
Sports has a way of creating comets that quickly burn out. Something tells us Mo'ne is going to be around for a while.
She has talent, a cool name and an iconic look with her cascade of free-flying braids. It's no wonder she's become a national sensation. Yet it's her reaction to her sudden popularity that has impressed, revealing the leadership and humility that will serve her well in the future.
She rejects the characterization of her as some kind of superhero and says with all apparent sincerity that the success of the Taney Dragons is all about the team. More girls should play on boys' teams so one girl competing is no longer special, she tells reporters to deflect their label of pioneer. The suffocating attention she's getting from fans and media is "kind of creepy," she told the Philadelphia Daily News. Interview my teammates, she says.
The pureness of it all is intoxicating. Already, talk shows and politicians have been calling. Pro athletes are tweeting and Sports Illustrated has her on the cover. They can wait. It's time to play ball.