honestly, it wasn’t even the fact that mike and ginny didn’t actually kiss that was upsetting (because i’m all for the slow burn), but rather what it represented.
that ginny must, once again, suppress her emotions for the game.
here’s a woman that from the time she was a little girl has been trained to assimilate to being “one of the guys,” distance herself from distractions, and suppress any wants, needs, or desires outside of the game.
which ultimately ends up with her as a “malfunctioning robot” because she’s isolated herself so completely, with a “trust no one” attitude that it’s left her with little life experience, and a myriad of suppressed emotions manifesting itself in the form of panic attacks from the pressure to maintain a perfect image.
every single time she’s opened herself up, been close to revealing what she wants outside of the game, she’s been stabbed in the back with a reminder that the only thing consistently there for her is the game.
she chooses to go to the dance over practicing, something her mother really wanted for her, that ginny herself wanted to experience and be excited about like all the other girls, only to find out that her mother is cheating on her father, angering her right back to the game.
she finally finds a friend that not only sees her as a serious ballplayer, but as a person that she can have fun and be goofy with, no romantic strings attached. but after his dad drunkenly kills her dad in a car crash, he moves away without so much as a word of goodbye to her, leaving her with a broken family and a broken heart, further convincing her that her focus should be on the game, not friendship.
then there’s trevor, the first and only romantic interest we’ve seen her have until recently, that ultimately lied to her to get her to break her “no dating ballplayers” rule, only further convincing her that you really can’t trust anyone.
coupled with amelia and mike’s secret, and the impending reveal of will’s lies, the theme of no one ever truly being there for her, runs deep.
he’s the first that she’s able to forgive for his transgressions, the first to really, truly be herself around, and know that someone has her back, will call her out on her shit, but also compliment her when credit’s due. she trusts him, and in turn, he trusts her.
they not only bring out the best in each other, but they provide each other with the missing pieces that they’ve so desperately been searching for. she’s his person, the one he calls late at night to talk about everything and…nothing. and he’s the person who gives her balance - offers some play, some passion intermixed with the work.
her choices, her circumstances have left her with so little life experience, so little ability to rectify her emotions, that the one time she actually, subconsciously wants something so badly, she has an internal war with herself in an attempt to bury feelings for mike that she won’t even let herself admit to.
she agrees to a date with noah only because of a bad run-in with mike - her jealousy and frustration lying dormant in a dinner invitation.
but again, subconsciously not wanting to sabotage anything that might be, she lies to mike about meeting with her brother instead of admitting to being on a date. and she has no idea why, even after mike baits her for an answer.
her giving every excuse in the book for why the team doesn’t want him to leave, and even throwing a “trade talk” excuse for herself, despite mike all but saying he doesn’t want to go because of her, or rather, he should go because of his feelings for her.
she suppresses and suppresses and suppresses until finally, in a moment of pure intuition, she throws herself at him in the form of a hug that lingers with barely there whispers of their breath intermixing, and their noses casually rubbing against each other, and in that moment, she’s choosing something. she’s choosing to actually let her emotions free, to let her want, her need, her desire for something that’s stronger than the game take over.
and then the phone rings and reality hits, and she’s once again forced to bury those emotions deep within her, to choose the game over something she really wants, to possibly find her comfort in a guy who is nice and sweet, but who she also literally ditched to be with someone else, someone she wants but won’t allow herself to have.
that’s why them not kissing was upsetting. not because it should’ve happened, but because in the absence of this kiss, ginny is once again left to suppress her emotions, pretend like there’s nothing there, and rely on the game to get her through, to be enough.
because for her, it has to be. it has to be enough, because she’s given everything else up.
and with injury a looming threat, what will she have left once the bandaid of the game is removed and left her with a gaping wound, and no coping tools to deal with the aftermath? it’ll just be her in a pool of emotions, further betrayed, this time by the one constant in her life, grasping for the one life saver she has…
this isn’t about ginny being independent. she already has that in spades. ginny against the world. this is about something she wants, just for her, her need for a connection, much like mike, for something more than just the game.