Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women and nonbinary folks who inspire us. This includes fictional characters in geeky media and creators as well. They are a prime example of empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.

DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers for Prime Video’s A League of Their Own.

Max Chapman 

Fast Facts: 

Max Chapman smiles while standing outside in an off-white blouse on A League of Their Own Season 1 Episode 7 "Full Count."

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN — Chanté Adams as Max Chapman — Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

Max Chapman (Chanté Adams) is a badass pitcher from Rockford, Illinois, who possesses a wicked fastball. Raised by her parents Edgar (Alex Désert) and Toni (Saidah Arrika Ekunola), Max developed a love for baseball at a young age, which her father nurtured. Additionally, Max discovered she was attracted to women as a teen.

Max’s mother wanted her to inherit the family salon, but Max’s heart was set on playing baseball professionally. 

On the Road to Fastballs

Max is close to her best friend, Clance Morgan (Gbemisola Ikumelo). When we meet Max in the pilot episode of A League of Their Own, she attempts to tryout for the Rockford Peaches, with Clance accompanying her for support. Unfortunately, the coach rejects her because he’s racist as hell, but Max impresses the ladies trying out by throwing a mind-boggling pitch before departing.

RELATED: Catch up on all the queer baseball goodness with our A League of Their Own recaps!

Later, Max persuades Gary (Kendall Johnson), a man who perpetually carries a torch for her, to help her secure a job at the screw factory so she can tryout for the Rockford Screws. Once the factory employs her, Max convinces the coach to allow her to tryout. However, Max blows her chance when nerves impede her performance. 

Max seeks out Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson). The pair continuously run into each other amid the first half of A League of Their Own until they start meeting for weekly practices at night. Through her practices with Carson, Max’s confidence resurfaces. 

Next, Max meets her Uncle Bertie (Lea Robinson), her mom’s estranged brother, and his wife Gracie (Patrice Covington). Initially, their relationship hits a patch of turbulence, but Max derives inspiration from her uncle to live her best life. At one of his parties, Max meets Esther (Andia Winslow), and the pair hit it off instantly. Max is smitten. She later discovers Esther is a pitcher for Red Wright’s All-Stars. 

RELATED: 10 More LGBTQIA+ Webtoon Series To Read for Pride Month

Then, Esther fakes an arm injury during the All-Stars game against the Screws. She urges the coach to allow Max to pitch. Max helps the All-Stars annihilate the Screws, leading the team to victory. The All-Stars coach offers Max a job playing for the team on the road, hoping to sell Esther and Max as a dynamic pitching duo. Max heartily accepts. 

The season ends with Max embarking on her tour with the All-Stars, and continuing her romance with Esther. 

The Real Deal: 

Clance Morgan and Max Chapman go to work at the screw factory on A League of Their Own Season 1 Episode 4 "Switch Hitter."

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN — Gbemisola Ikumelo as Clance Morgan and Chanté Adams as Max Chapman — Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

Of course, there’s the obvious — Max possesses an incredible gift regarding her pitching abilities. However, she’s so much more than her athletic talents. Max remains true to herself in a world incessantly telling her who she should be. She refuses to marry a man and subject herself to permanent unhappiness, unwilling to sneak around like her ex-lover Leah (Marinda Anderson), who’s married. Max is authenticity personified, which is immensely challenging to uphold in 1940s America as a queer woman of color. 

Additionally, Max is loyal to her loved ones, especially Clance. She has ample love to give to whoever’s willing to receive it. Max stands up for herself and works hard to achieve her goals. She’s kind, empathetic and brilliant. Max’s tenacity and grit are more than admirable. She rails against societal standards, subverting expectations for women, namely women of color. Max will not live her life on someone else’s terms. 

RELATED: 17 New LGBTQIA+ Books You Should Read for Pride

Why She Matters: 

Chante Adams a Max Chapman, standing in a dimly lit home while smiling and holding a beer bottle on A League of Their Own.

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN — Chanté Adams as Max Chapman — Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

Max is a queer woman of color living and loving in the 1940s while fulfilling her lifelong dream of playing baseball professionally. She climbs the athletic ranks as part of a marginalized community and successfully reaches the stars. Max doesn’t let anything deter her from doing what she loves despite multiple speed bumps along the way. 

Max is a multifaceted, strong Black woman who doesn’t allow the rampant and pervasive racism, homophobia and misogyny to hinder her from living the life she deserves. She finds a woman she loves and pitches for a team by the season’s end. In my book, Max is a bona fide badass. 

RELATED: Looking for another crush? Check out our Geek Girl Authority Crushes of the Week here!

So, be like Max Chapman. Go against the grain. Boldly go where no one has gone before (Thanks, Star Trek). Find your support system, and never let them go. Don’t let anything stop you from living your dream. Love who you love with abandon. Oh, and always listen to Uncle Bertie. He’s got a sharp fashion sense and gives the best haircuts (Sorry, Toni). 

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