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Bush promotes women’s sports at T-ball game

Ann Sanner
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
Evan Vucci/AP PhotoPresident Bush, second from left, and two-time Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith, left, greet a tee ball player after a game on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday.
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WASHINGTON – Dozens of pint-size girls took to the South Lawn on Wednesday to play in the White House’s first softball T-ball game, with President Bush rooting them on from the bleachers.

“We’re a big believer in Title IX programs,” Bush said of the federal legislation that bars gender bias in athletics. “We think it’s good for America that our women are playing sports. The best way to convince women to play sports is to start early.”

Before chatting and taking pictures with people in the crowd, Bush led the girls in the Little League Pledge: “I trust in God. I love my country and will respect its laws. I will play fair and strive to win. But win or lose I will always do my best.”



In the bleachers, the president sat next to Michele Smith, who won an Olympic gold medal in women’s softball in 1996 and 2000. She served as this year’s honorary T-ball commissioner.

Per South Lawn rules, there were no outs and no strikes in the matchup between the Luray Little League Red Wings from Luray, Va., and the Allegany County Little League Bobcats from Cumberland, Md.



Each girl got a chance at bat and were encouraged to round the bases by members of the University of Arizona softball team, who served as base coaches. At the end of the game, Bush gave the Little League players softballs bearing his signature.

Between the two innings of play Bush joined the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Bush started the White House T-ball game ” using a regular baseball ” in 2001 to promote interest in baseball and foster a spirit of teamwork and service. “It’s in the nation’s interest to promote women athletics,” he told the crowd.



http://www.whitehouse.gov/teeball/2007/


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