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Outcry after boys get trophies, girls get gift bags for state championship wins

A Florida mom is demanding justice for her daughter's softball team.
/ Source: TODAY

A girls’ softball league in Florida made a call that left its players in tears. Now the story is gaining national attention after one mom posted about it on Facebook.

“My daughter along with 11 other 5-7-year-old talented and determined little girls have dedicated their entire summer to Babe Ruth Allstars,” Ashlee Partin wrote last month. “They practiced 3 days a week for 2 months for hours every day.”

Faith Partin, 7, and her teammates received goody bags after winning the state championships. The boys who won took home trophies and medals.
Faith Partin, 7, and her teammates received goody bags after winning the state championships. The boys who won took home trophies and medals. Ashlee Partin

The team went undefeated all season and won the state championships. But unlike the boys’ division champions, the girls did not take home personalized trophies. Instead, they were each presented with a black drawstring goody bag, which contained a commemorative softball, a plastic luggage tag and adult-size batting gloves.

Partin’s 7-year-old daughter, Faith, was confused. Some children were in tears. And this was before they even learned about the discrepancy between the boys and girls.

“Faith asked me, ‘Where’s my trophy?’ And I totally lied to her. I said, ‘Oh, it’s coming,’” Partin told TODAY Parents. “I assumed there had been a mistake.”

A boy player posed with his trophy.
A boy player posed with his trophy. Ashlee Partin
The girls were expecting trophies when they won the state championship. Instead, they got goody bags.
The girls were expecting trophies. Instead, they got goody bags. Ashlee Partin

But it was no mistake.

In a statement given to a local Fox affiliate, Florida Babe Ruth State Softball Commissioner Doug Robinson explained in part, “Our intention was to provide the players with the recognition they deserve and a lasting keepsake of the tournament.”

Faith and her teammates aren’t satisfied with their "keepsakes" — and neither is Oviedo Babe Ruth President Jim Brashear. Brashear and the Oviedo Babe Ruth board of directors will honor the softball players with proper championship trophies on Friday at a special award ceremony. (Shhh — the trophies are a surprise!)

“We recognize the Florida Babe Ruth directors feel the alternative awards had similar dollar values to trophies,” Brashear told TODAY Parents. “However, they simply were not what (was) expected and left the girls disappointed.”

This was the first year that softball players received goody bags instead of trophies.

“I believe they tried something different with awards,” Brashear said. “However, it was a swing and a miss, and — whether intentional or accidental — it's not a message Oviedo Babe Ruth at a community level felt we could support.”

The Babe Ruth League and commissioner Robinson did not reply to an email for comment.

Partin also is waiting for a response.

"I just want them to write me back and say, 'Hey, we need to do better. We need to be better,'" Partin said. "I want them to take a moment to thoughtfully think about this and how they want to make sure that girls are treated equally on every level."

As for Partin's daughter, Faith, she's counting down the days until Friday. "I'm extremely happy that all these people are going to celebrate us. Most of all, I'm so grateful. This is going to be so fun."