Canadian Girls Baseball: Building Strength Through Sports

Children are our future. Those four words have been quoted in a variety of ways by a unnumerable amount of people from Whitney Houston to Nelson Mandela. This phrase often highlights the need, the necessity, to prepare the next generation for the struggles of tomorrow, but to also encourage growth, beauty, and fun that comes with their youthful years. Sports are not the only path a child can take to ascertain key life skills and build memories, but they are most certainly an excellent tool to attain these things. Sports can help teach your child the importance of persistence, integrity, teamwork, trust, and of course…fun. Many great leaders of the past and present acquired these skills along with their leadership ability through sports and organized activities in their youth and undoubtedly many of the future leaders of the world will walk a similar path. Unfortunately for many, sports today still feel like a “boys club” with many young girls and other marginalized groups being largely left out. There is, however, a sports organization that is working to ensure every girl has a place to play.

Canadian Girls Baseball is, as the name suggests, a baseball league with the goal of creating a space for all girls to play. They emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion and aim to reach every province, city, and neighborhood across Canada. Founded by Dana Bookman, their story begins when Dana’s daughter, age 6, played a season of baseball in a community league back in 2016. Sadly, she decided to quit not for lack of love of the sport but did not find enjoyment in the league being outnumbered by the over 400 boys in her age group. Dana then decided to put the word out and see if any friends or people in the neighborhood would be willing to play with them at the park expecting maybe a handful to turn out but was blown away when 44 girls answered the call. A year later in the spring of 2017 Dana once again put the word out, and with no advertising an extraordinary 350 girls showed up. “At that point I realized that lack of participation was not because of the lack of interest, it was because of the lack of opportunity.” Dana said. With mitts and bats in hand, and the love of baseball in their hearts, the Canadian Girls Baseball league had begun to take shape.  

As of 2022, Canadian Girls Baseball has continued to grow with over 1500 registered athletes of numerous ages, across multiple provinces, and a variety of programs to choose from. The tremendous success they’ve achieved has brought the love of baseball to many families. “Quite honestly, it’s one of the very the best parts of being a parent. Watching them play, you see the pure enjoyment on their faces. At the same time, they’re building these amazing life skills” Tamara Gottlieb said describing the experience of watching her two daughters play for CGB. “I’m a mom of four with two sons and two daughters. We’ve tried many different sports, leagues, after school activities and even a few different schools. Over the years, we have connected with so many different people and organizations in our kids’ lives and CGB stands way out as being one of the best. CGB just makes such a positive impact in our daughters’ lives. Their ethos, their community, how they truly even the playing field for girls who’ve never played sports and yet at the same time do such an incredible job in building young female leaders. They definitely have a secret sauce.” 

 Lauren and Lily Gottlieb are Tamara’s two daughters who play for Canadian Girls Baseball. Lauren started to play for the league in Grade 5 and later became their first junior coach, she now runs their summer camp and coaches in the fall, winter, and spring seasons. “CGB gave me the opportunity to become an athlete and honestly it gave me a second family.” Lauren said of her experience with CGB. “I love that I learned how to play baseball, and I love the team cheer we say at every game. I also love seeing my sister play baseball.” Lily, Lauren’s sister, said when asked about what she enjoys most about playing for CGB. Even Dana Bookman’s daughter has not only been given the opportunity to pursue a sport she loves and has found great success playing baseball, but it’s also given her skills that will help her as she moves forward in life. “It’s given her so much confidence. It’s taught her resilience. She was going to drop out of the sport at age 6, and by age 9 was asked to go train with the Team Ontario Development Team. She’s not scared of failure as much as she was, which is what baseball does for people.”  

What started as a group of girls getting together for the love of the sport has exploded into a near country wide effort to ensure every girl, in every province, and in every neighborhood has a place to play. Dana Bookman and her team at Canadian Girls Baseball has done an incredible job providing their athletes with a welcoming, safe, and inclusive space to pursue the sport of baseball. They have also done their part in building a team of strong and capable women for their athletes to look up to. “I think to myself if my daughter had been ready to drop out, how many other girls would drop out, or wouldn’t even try? We know what sports does for mental health and physical health.” Dana explained. “By giving them the opportunity to play in a male dominated sport gives them a leg up in school, business, and life. This is more than just playing on the diamond. It’s not about creating great athletes; it’s about creating future leaders.”

– Kaelan Maye 2022


  • Jeff maye
    August 26, 2022 at 6:50 am

    Great peice of writing Kealen.

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