Now, I wouldn't be saying a word about this, had I not spent the better part of my youth as the only girl on an all-boys baseball team. You guessed it, I was number 16, an Oriole. I should pull those pictures out of my trunk in the basement, which I'm planning to do someday soon. I was catcher most of the time, I'm not sure why, perhaps I was the only one who could be hit you-know-where without totally dying.
I loved the job, didn't mind the equipment except for that annoying face mask. How in the hell are you expected to see anything in that?! I was offered the pitching plate once or twice, and it was obvious I'd be a heck of a pitcher. Better than our current star (not even the coach's son), which was why I was patted on the back and told to return to my station. Oh well, Mr. Montrose delivered pizzas to our house, who was I to argue with him?
I did make it to the All-Stars, so I know a bit about that, if you must know. I recall being confused by the whole AL versus NL thing, you mean we're divided into DIVISIONS?(!) I should've thrown down my mitt right then and there, because to this day I have no idea where the Orioles even fall. But I had a game to play, and my team was counting on me, and once I saw those bright lights...I'd have been an idiot to refuse.
I sucked majorly, though (but never in the way you're probably thinking). Even the other girl on the opposing team was much stronger and up for the advantage than me. I was a pixie, a frail, bony blonde pixie whose hair sticking out of my catcher's helmet made me a dead ringer for Jodi Foster. Totally.
I was catcher again. You'd think they would've thrown me out into left field, or at least plugged me in short stop, both essential positions, don't get me wrong. But that pitcher, dude, he did not hold back for the sake of a delicate hand. After being stung again, and again, and again...um, I couldn't handle it, chose to sit out (and crying). I had no idea that's why they invented softball.
There's one particular story that stands out in my mind (and then I'm settling in with my hubby to watch Sean Penn's Into the Wild). The deaf kid, Jeff. I volunteered to play catch with him everytime during practice. I love getting to know people, of all times, even better if he felt he was somehow at a disadvantage. He lobbed alot, but I taught him to trust.
Jeff was awesome, not so much as a player, but as a person. And I was all set to accept him as part of the team, of course my boys would see he was exactly like all the rest of them. Wouldn't they? It was probably my coach who insulted the intelligence of everyone, when after a practice or two of warming up with the Jeffer...I was suddenly his life partner.
Coach looked at me as someone to pick up the slack, someone to take care of the deaf guy so's no one else would have to waste their skill or whatever, lobbing back and forth with a handicap. I can't hold it against him, I never would, just that so many guys missed out on teaching Jeffrey themselves, that nothing can hold you back from being good at baseball.
Except pizza delivery guys.