Five Ways Something Ruined My Life

Five Ways ‘A League of Their Own' Ruined My Life

A League of Their Own is one of those movies where I ask myself, “How did I see this SO many times?” I guess I rented it from the video store a lot? Watched it at friends’ houses? I don’t know why, but I always get hung up on HOW I saw a movie so much if I don’t have memories of renting it a lot (Frankenweenie, The American President) or owning it at home (Parenthood, When Harry Met Sally…).

A League of Their Own came up recently at work when a co-worker got asked a trivia question and was asking for help. The question was something like, “What movie is Bill Pullman in that takes place in 1943?” We could picture Bill Pullman in a uniform but it took a little while to remember that he plays Geena Davis’s husband in this movie. Hooray! (“Can we just hold each other for the rest of our lives?”)

I also used to be a little obsessed with watching The Rosie O’Donnell Show and I feel like she used to bring up A League of Their Own a LOT (and Tom Cruise, of course) and since I was obsessed with her show it made me love the movie even more. PLUS this movie is double/triple/quadruple-awesome because: it’s directed by Penny Marshall (one of my favorite pop culture Pennys); it stars Geena Davis – who is just awesome in general (women’s Olympics archery team semi-finalist, hello!); AND, I mean, brunette Madonna – come on (“What if at a key moment in the game my, my uniform bursts open and, uh, oops, my bosoms come flying out? That might draw a crowd, right?”)

And that song will get me every single time.

Here are Five Ways A League of Their Own ruined my life:

1. Forced Me to Accept a Movie Device I Usually Hate

I just feel like in a lot of movies that use the “Start in present day, go to the past to tell the story and come back to present for the end” device, I find myself screaming, “why do we have to see what they’re doing now?! The whole story is back then!”

But A League of Their Own charmed me enough into accepting this device.

And it’s because we NEED to see we need to see why Dottie is so hesitant to go to the event at the beginning and then we NEED to see what happened to Dottie in the end. We need to see that she didn’t keep playing but the other girls did and see what affect that had on her.

The other thing that makes this work is the fact that it involves some of the best “Now” casting I’ve ever seen in any movie. Seriously. And most of the women at the end are actual players from the AAGBL. And that fact just kills me.

I mean, tell me that she doesn’t look just like Geena Davis!

I’m gonna start crying again, let’s move on.

2. Toyed With My Emotions RE: Tom Hanks

Obviously, this is the line everyone quotes from this movie…because it’s pretty great.

When Jimmy Dugan comes in to manage the Rockford Peaches at first, he’s a drunk, he takes forever to pee and he is mean to all the girls.

This sort of ruined Tom Hanks for me (until I watched to the end of the movie). Because I was like, “he’s the nice guy! What’s happening??” (It apparently took me a long time to grasp the idea of “acting”)

As someone who used to cry all the time at school and has learned to control it a little but still gets choked up when frustrated, I feel the girls’ pain at this line. I have emotions, okay? (And I read a book once about how crying was good for you so I don’t see why it’s a problem.)

But by the end of the movie Jimmy Dugan is delivering awesome lines like this: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

That’s the Tom Hanks I know and love.

3. Made Me Think I Should be Able to Play Sports

I mean, how awesome does being in this league look? They get to ride around together on a bus (one of my all-time dreams ever since I first saw Road Rules) and they have awesome uniforms (even though they’re extremely impractical for baseball playing as pointed out by all of the girls and common sense but I just think they’re cute, okay?).

The problem with all this is, I am not a particularly athletic person. Aside from one year in 7th grade where I played basketball (I was told to get fouled so I could make foul shots…I was good at foul shots), I’ve never played team sports but it always looks fun.

I want to come up from way behind in a big game and win! I want to slide into home plate! I want a cool nickname like “All-the-way Mae” or “Betty Spaghetti” (Major sad face about her story though…)!

It’d never work anyway, I bruise like a peach!

4. Was Really Terrified That I’d Have to Go to Charm School

Since I WASN’T athletic and no one was going to be asking me to play in any All-American Girls. . . anything league, I’m not sure why this bothered me so much.

But when I saw them go to charm school I thought, “oh no, that’s going to be awful when I go!”

Did I know anyone who went to charm school or behaved like that? No.

Did my parents ever threaten to send me to charm school? No. (I just wasn’t supposed to keep my elbows on the table during dinner).

I feel ya, Marla

I mean, this was also at a point in my life where I was VERY into “girl power” (pre-Spice Girls) and was spending most of my time reading a young girl’s feminist magazine “New Moon” and writing in about injustices in 4th grade like my teacher saying “muscles on the windows, boys” when we needed to open the window. (I probably couldn’t have opened those old elementary school windows but the 9-year-old boys in my class couldn’t either, so…) So I think A League of Their Own was exactly what I needed.

5. I Want to be a Tough-As-Nails Girl From New York

I’ve been called feisty (or sometimes “firey” which I think people think is nicer but really sounds worse to me) enough in my life to accept this part of my personality as truth.

But I always felt like it would probably be okay for me to be this feisty if I were a tough-as-nails girl from New York, you know? Like if I have the accent and the look AND this supposed “attitude” (I think I’m just sarcastic and people don’t get my humor but whatever).

But look at Mae and Doris here. They both literally just said, “What are you looking at?


Dream girls.

We are members of the All-American League…

(Main image via with me added, other images via DVD)

  • Amanda Leung

    I am totally with you on this one! I still can’t help crying when the telegram arrives and as soon as “This Used To Be My Playground” kicks in at the end. Still gasp when Dottie drops the ball and still hope Dottie and Jim will get together. Think I may have to watch it this weekend…

    • Erin Long

      I was sitting there thinking, “omg wait, what happens at the end?! Don’t the Rockford Peaches lose??? OH GOD!” So, I feel you.

  • Lauren Wards

    This is my favourite movie of all time! I agree with everything. Must watch it this weekend too!

  • Katie Garrity

    A League of Their Own is my favorite movie of all time! Every time it’s on, I call my sister and cry about how much I miss her (lives in Arizona, I’m in Illinois) and love her because of how much Dottie loves Kit.

  • Claire De Lune

    Noooo Betty Spaghetti! :(

  • Desiree Nicole

    Kit was always my favorite…forever the underdog, always in the shadow of her sister:) ‘Lay off the high ones!”

  • Niccy McOrrie

    I Watched this movie so many times as a kid! We used to play softball, and I am a younger sister. But I think this movie was a contributing factor to me loving roller derby nowadays!

  • Lauren Michelle Sergesketter

    One of my all time favorites! It was filmed at our ball field so we kept everything practically the same. Even worked at the ball park this summer. :)

  • April Kincheloe

    Love this movie! So maybe this is where I can have a deep conversation about this…does Dottie drop the ball in the end? Or does Kit finally outdo her? As many times as I’ve watched the movie, I still can’t decide and either one makes for a beautiful story. I can never decide which I prefer.

    • Amanda Leung

      I was too afraid to bring up the question earlier. I reckon Dottie dropped it. She’s got everything she wants in life and doesn’t need baseball. Think she was handing the limelight to Kit.

      • April Kincheloe

        And when you think of Dottie’s side, that’s sweet, right? She gave it all up for her sister to have a moment. She finally put aside her fame, realized she only wanted Kit back, and gave it up when their was a lot on the line.

        But if you’re Kit, you probably wouldn’t have wanted that ending. You probably really wanted to be better and have earned it for once, and would have felt your victory less of a moment if it had been given to you. And to that end, Dottie probably knew Kit would have only wanted it genuinely.

        So when Dottie looks at Kit celebrating in the end, I can never decide if she looks proud that Kit finally won or just happy she got a moment. Either way, I cry.

  • Casie Case

    I have to admit, I kind of always thought that they just made Geena Davis up to look old, I never realized that it was a totally different actress! They did an amazing job casting this movie!!

    • Erin Long

      I thought so too until this viewing! They dub in the voices of Dottie and Kit though…with the different actresses. So weird.

      • Samantha Kirschberg

        I know! When I read that it wasn’t really them at the end and that they dubbed their voices, I couldn’t believe it!

  • Jac Sanchez

    isn’t that Geena Davis at the end?

  • Jac Sanchez

    WHOA! it isn’t Geena Davis at the end!! Mind Blown!

  • Jessica Townsley

    Ok, I loved the whole post as usual, obviously. But I really appreciate that you admit to being “someone who used to cry all the time at school.” I was like that, too. In 5th grade, a substitute teacher even sent me to a guidance counselor because she was worried I had “issues” (who doesn’t?). Like you, I learned to mostly control it, but I, too, still cry when I get frustrated. I don’t feel quite so alone on that now. Thank you :-)

    • Erin Long

      :) That makes ME feel so much better. Kids would always point out when I was getting “teary-eyed” and I hated it. It’s better now but I still cry pretty easily.

  • Maddie Haddock

    Ok. I am aware that this is not your main point in the article (It’s actually a side note), but what caught my attention was your mention of the New Moon magazine. Growing up, I loved that magazine and how empowering it was to young women, My mom introduced my sister and I to it, we fell in love, and then began our lives as feminists! I sincerely miss that magazine, and I wish more girls had read it/could read it now. Of course, I clicked on this article because (as a feminist) A League of Their Own was definitely one of my fav girl power movies! Kudos to Penny Marshall!

  • Lindsay Jones

    This was on the movie network today, and I spent my afternoon LITERALLY crying the whole time. Every time. I’m a sucker for triumph.

  • Lizz Long

    I almost started crying just reading this! I may have to rewatch this for the billionth time soon.

  • Christina Campobasso

    One of my all time favorite movies. I was up at 2am a few weeks ago and caught it playing on TBS or TNT or Lifetime…something along lines, and stayed up and watched the whole thing. I think I still know it line by line, the entire thing, by heart.

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