Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Call Me Babe

I love baseball.
Let me rephrase that.
I LOVE baseball.
I don’t know why.
Maybe it’s because you get to beat an inanimate something with a thick, wooden stick.
Outside.
In the summer sunshine.
Whatever . . .
I played a bit.
Grade school.
High school.
But I didn’t play regularly until long after I had married and had a family.
It was then that I spent three glorious years in a mixed league.
And it was fun.
Oh, I wasn’t one of their best players.
In fact, I spent most of my time out in right field.
Praying that the other team would hit the ball anywhere but to me.
In fact, the only place where I was competent was in the batter’s box.
And even there, only competent. Good for a base or two.
Until that night.
Let me tell you about it . . .
It was a clear summer evening.
The mosquitoes weren’t too bad.
The sun was setting, but the field was situated such that it wasn’t in anyone’s eyes.
The shadows were lengthening.
The sky was trying to decide if it wanted to be cerulean blue or glorious orange.
My team was at bat.
Well . . . I was at bat.
The other team eyed me curiously.
I hadn’t done too badly in the field, but really hadn’t distinguished myself.
A couple of the guys moved in a bit.
The pitcher glanced around at the two players we had on base, then looked at me.
He went into his wind-up, which, in slow pitch, isn’t.
And flipped the ball at me.
I swung.
And felt the sharp crack and the burst of exhilaration as bat met ball.
Solidly.
And that’s when the first surprise of the evening dropped every jaw on my team.
Including mine.
That ball sailed out over the heads of the outfielders.
Way out.
Way, way out.
A triple.
It would have been a home run, except I’m old.
I brought in both of our runners and settled myself firmly on third base.
Then grinned as my team cheered wildly.
The next hitter brought me in and I was met by many slapping hands.
The good kind.
An inning or so later, I was again facing the pitcher. I grinned as the fielders moved back slightly in a she-did-it-once-but-is-this-going-to-be-a-habit sort of way.
They didn’t move back far enough.
Another triple.
Sometime later, I again stood in the hot spot.
This time, the entire outfield moved back.
Way back.
It didn’t matter.
This time, it was a home run.
That ball went far enough that even my aged legs could toddle around all the bases.
We won the game.
But that didn’t matter.
Because for the first – and only – time in my life, I felt like a real ball player.
I had watched as the opposing team moved back to the far reaches of the field and knew they were doing it because, and I quote, ‘This girl can hit!’
I don’t know what happened that night.
Maybe there was some charmed quality in the clear air.
Maybe the spirit of Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays or Babe Ruth had wandered in for a visit.
Maybe I was channelling my Mom.
Maybe I just had a pitcher I could hit off of.
All I know is that it was magical.
It was my night.
My only night.
And I’ll never forget it.


11 comments:

  1. This made me smile - thanks for sharing on this Sunday morning! I love those moments when everything comes together perfectly - and we never do forget them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They happen so seldom, we need to remember! :)

      Delete
  2. Oh, wow! Amazing! Stories like this give me goosebumps!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this story - total girl power at any age. I feel the same way about football - don't get much of a chance to play but I am a crazed fan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent, Kim! We're obviously kindred spirits! :)

      Delete
  4. Just got my baseball-loving husband to read this too--it brought tears to his eyes. I am not even kidding. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Karen, you've just made my day. My year!!! :)

      Delete
  5. I'm super impressed. I've never managed to hit a ball with a bat my entire life. Of course I haven't tried much, I'm not at all sporty, but in high school phys. ed. classes sometimes we were supposed to try. We played softball and heaven knows that ball is big enough, but I missed it every single time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you say. I've totally been there! If it weren't for that one night . . .

      Delete
  6. You described it so well I felt like I was in the stands cheering for you! As a fellow softball player, nights like that don't come along often (or for me never ha ha)!

    ReplyDelete

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