Like most of the women playing softball—or any game, for that matter—Shea feels she was deprived of an opportunity to excel in sports when she was younger. "When I was 12 growing up in Bainbridge, N.Y. I was better than all the boys in my neighborhood in any sport—baseball, basketball, even ice hockey," she said before the finals. "Oh, I could join in their games in the park, but I couldn't play Little League baseball. Yes, I feel deprived. Lots of girls were deprived of sports as an outlet in those days. It's funny—a father would never think of telling his daughter to deliberately flunk a test in school, yet he'd try to discourage her from playing sports too seriously. People should never try to discourage you from something you're good at. If your body is something you can do things with on a sports field, then you should be allowed to.
"Still, I don't know whether I'd like to see softball get as professional as other sports. I wonder if it doesn't destroy your desire to produce when you're making a lot of money for playing sports. My attitude toward softball might change if there were a price tag attached to it. As it is now, softball is a very satisfying outlet for me. I'm not looking for anything, any publicity or money, but I have no resentment toward anyone who makes a lot of money at a sport. I just love going out to play a game without worrying about anything but the game. I think the fans sense this in the girls, and that's why they enjoy watching us play." Indeed, it would be hard not to like a team that is so good it beats even the early birds.