Monday, May 16, 2011

A Sandstorm of Memories

I never wanted to be one of those parents
who relived their lives through their children.

My children were exposed to my interests and hobbies,
but I never tried to form them into little mini-mes.
I wanted them to choose their sports, their hobbies, their interests.

But, when two of my children picked my favorite sport,
I was thrilled,
I have to admit.

Watching my daughter play catcher last weekend
brought a sandstorm of sandlot memories.

I started playing softball in Helena, Montana, when I was 9 years old.
My older neighbor, Tammy, invited me to play on her team.
She pitched and I caught.
Actually, I'm not sure I caught the ball very many times that first year.
I don't think I ever made it to the pitchers mound when I threw it back, either.
In third grade, I weighed about 40 pounds and was always the shortest in my class.

But, Tammy would patiently pitch on,
always smiling,
never showing her frustration when chasing after my bad tosses,
again and again.

She did finally coach me to step a few paces passed the plate,
to shorten the throwing distance.

Except for an occasional walk, I always struck out,
but she and the older teammates still cheered me on.
I never really knew how terrible I played,
until I got better.

When I played my last year in the Junior League
I was chosen as the first baseman for the All Star Team
and won League MVP, carrying home a large trophy
and a heart full of gratitude.
Even at a young age, I knew I hadn't improved on my own.

My daughter Rebekah, taking after Mom.

In the Helena park league only had a  huge face mask
that  Sarah, the league umpire,
had to adjust to its smallest size each inning I caught.
Even then, it slid down and covered my eyes.
I learned to either hold my head tipped slightly back
or hold the mask up with my right  hand.
It definitely didn't help my inability to catch the ball.

We played in regular clothes, some of us not even having tennis shoes.
We used our dads' and brothers' gloves.
My dad's glove was so old it was flat when I set it on the bench
and was dark brown from years of oiling.
But, I was so proud of it, because it was my Dad's.
There were no uniforms, sometimes not even coaches who showed up.
Because our practices and games were during the day,
parents never came.
It was just about a dozen girls on my team who loved to play softball.

Times have changed.

Rebekah and her teammates wear the full uniform,
down to cleats and the cool elastic belts.
The stands are filled with cheering parents.
The kids get trophies every year just for playing.

The one thing I hope doesn't change,
may she always love the game.

Someday, I hope, a cloud of sandlot dust
brings back a sandstorm of wonderful memories.


  1. Go Rebekah!!! :)

    I also love softball but I would be a lousy catch I think. My sister Margo was an awesome catcher...under Brother-In-Law Coach Ski. :)


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