Like most children that fall in love with the game of baseball, Akisa Fukuzawa discovered it while playing with local boys and girls in the neighborhood parks and diamonds of her corner of Japan. As she got older, fewer and fewer girls were playing alongside her, as they moved on to more accepted paths for Japanese girls. The greatest symbol of her parent’s disapproval came when she received a red-plastic-toy glove, after asking for a new glove.
“It was very embarrassing going out and playing with the boys with that toy glove,” Fukuzawa says. “Everyone had these nice leather gloves, and I had this plastic toy glove. I just wanted to play baseball.”
To this day, playing baseball is really all that Fukuzawa wants to do. As president of the Columbus Women’s Baseball League, she is trying to get more women involved in playing hardball baseball, while enjoying the game and being taken seriously. She has really been on a quest to make baseball a sport that is accessible to women all of her life, as the alternative of softball never appealed to her.
“They are really two different sports,” Fukuzawa says. “It would be like asking a tennis player to play ping pong – they just aren’t the same game.”
Though the CWBL is still relatively young, it has retained members and grown every year. It still could use a few players. Fukuzawa encourages women who have any interest at all to come out and play ball with her. Her dream is to have a women’s team that could travel and play regularly. She really just wants equality.
“There is no physical reason why women shouldn’t play baseball,” Fukuzawa says. “Women play football, soccer, basketball and hockey. Why not baseball?”
For more information go to www.columbuswbl.com