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Ladies vs. Tomboys: 1955

Ladies vs. Tomboys: 1955

April 9, 1955. Atlanta, Georgia. "Softball or ballet? Linda McConkey, of the Lorelei Ladies softball team, diving for third base during an exhibition game; and Jerrie Rainey, playing third base for the Atlanta Tomboys, as she jumps for the ball." Wide World photo. View full size.


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That’s my Grandmother

Linda was definitely safe; I can’t remember all of the details, but I can get them and share them with y’all if you like, because that’s my Nanna diving into third base. She was an amazing athlete and only recently slowed down in the past ten years or so. She’ll be 83 in September and keeps a copy of this photo in a book at my parents’ house. She’s absolutely one of the most incredible humans I’ve ever known.

And as for the legs, that’s debatable. See, Nanna was not only known for her athletic prowess, but her beauty ... and those legs. Boys would come from other schools to watch her legs as she ran up and down the court at her high school basketball games, where they eventually retired her jersey.

My Photography Knowledge is slim

In 1955; what shutter speed would the photographer use to catch this amazing shot?

[The same as you'd use today. - Dave]

Super Girls

It didn't even dawn on me they were playing softball when I first saw this photo. As a lifelong Superman family fan, I saw one Supergirl coming in for a landing (great form!) while another was taking off straight up (unusual but sometimes done).

'Tomboy' anyone? no one?

I was curious about the term "tomboy," which I thought must be banished to the dustbin of embarrassing stereotypes. Not exactly, though you can find plenty of calls to discard it (including by the Girl Scouts). At the same time, it has been appropriated by advertisers and (concept and imagery at least) by radical gender-benders.

It's an old term, originally referring to a brash male youth. It was also sometimes attached to an immodest woman. By the 17th century it had the familiar reference to a "boyish" girl.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, tomboys were everywhere in culture and especially literature. There are academic studies.

When this photo of the softball players was taken in 1955, Harper Lee was creating Scout (birth name Jean Louise Finch).

Even if a spike comes down on a hand

We can all be sure that there will be No Crying.

Linda may be safe

But Jerrie's got better legs and quite possibly a cuter outfit.

Still There

Not Linda or Lorelei, but the softball fields at Piedmont Park, near the soccer fields and beach volleyball courts, all surrounded by an 800-meter granite dust running track. A mighty blast can send the ball rolling near the steps shown in the pic. In the 1890s the park also hosted the first UGA-Auburn college football games.

Safe at third

Great form, the two of them, but no way is Jerrie getting Linda out.

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