Mo’ne , who earned a place on the cover of Sports Illustrated during her inspiring performance last summer, is the subject of a mini-doc by legendary director Spike Lee. The film “Throw Like a Girl” (embedded below), chronicles Mo’ne’s baseball roots and provides a glimpse into what life is like for the young teen after her rise to international fame. One thing we learn is that the young phenom actually bumped Kobe Bryant from the cover of Sports Illustrated. How’s that for being badass.
The South Philly native also been a guest on several national TV shows, including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America. Last month Mo’ne was featured in Harper’s Bazaar and Time magazine and she appears in the November issue of Teen Vogue. In the Time issue, Mo’ne was listed with Malia and Sasha Obama among the mag’s 25 Most Influential Teens. All this while maintaining stellar grades at the private school she attends near her home.
Mo’ne burst onto the scene as the standout star of her Philadelphia Taney Dragons baseball team. How did she do it? By throwing “like a girl,” which happens to be the theme of the Lee-directed film. Mo’ne has become a symbol of broken barriers. “I throw 70 MPH, that’s throwing like a girl,” she proudly says on camera. What a way to turn around stereotypes!
The film is complemented by a minute-long Chevy ad – also directed by Lee – that was produced for the 2014 World Series. Mo’ne had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch of Game 4 at AT&T Park where she threw from the mound and put the ball right in the strike zone.
As much as I dislike the fact that the documentary is ultimately a Chevrolet ad, I applaud the car company for helping to get her story out. And other than getting into a Chevy at the end, product placement is balanced with an intimate portrait of Mo’ne. We meet her family, and her coach, Steve Bandura, who discovered her as a seven-year-old tossing a ball at the park. The anecdote about two little boys pitching to each other arguing about who gets to be Mo’ne was priceless. The documentary also shows Mo’ne playing basketball, her favorite sport, where her skills as a point guard have garnered the attention of collegiate programs including UConn, her top pick to play one day.
In the film Mo’ne says, “I stand for girls who want to play sports with the boys and want to be a role model for people, young and old.” In this one short sentence, she captures everything that she stands for and her undeniable ability to shift the world’s perception of gender in sports is revealed. Single-handedly changing the meaning of the age-old phrase.
Young women like Mo’ne (and there are plenty of others like her) are changing the face of sports . They’re challenging the meaning of a phrase that once felt like sticks and stones and making it their own. Yeah – I throw (or run, or jump, or shoot) like a girl. Try to keep up.