CHURCH LEAGUE SOFTBALL, 1958

(FEB. 5, 2018)

I really loved baseball. I started playing when I was young, playing catch with Dad in the back yard, while my little dog, Jose, would run back and forth between us, every time we threw the ball, barking, turning , barking, turning. Sometimes, I marveled that he didn’t die right then of a heart attack.

Dad played outfield on the church team. They played in a fast pitch softball church league.

This was serious stuff.

The pitcher, Jerry Cone, told me some years later that teams would try to steal players from other teams. He said, he played on a business team in Garland, and a bank offered him a job, where he really didn’t have to do anything at work, as long as he pitched for the team.

But, when I was young, 6 or 7 years old, I didn’t know any of that stuff. I just loved the summertime night games at Central Park.

There was something magical about being out (not at home) after dark, when we would normally be in bed, and those bright lights around the field would bring a sense of a wonderful artificial daylight.

Foul balls were the best.

Whoever got to it first would take it back to the umpire, then go straight to the snack bar for a free snow cone.

We didn’t really watch the game…I liked to watch my dad bat…but we would usually run and laugh and play, until we heard the THRUUMMPP that sounded like a foul ball, then, our eyes went up, and the race was on.

But, there was one game that sticks in my mind.

Not because of the game, but because of the kid at the game.

We weren’t at the regular field. I was too young to know where we were, but, we had the lights, and the kids.

We were playing chase, running, laughing, running until my side was hurting . (Remember when you used to run so much, you would get a sharp pain in the side, you would stop, grab your side, and bend over until it stopped?)

There was this girl there, probably a couple of years older, who ran like the wind, laughing joyfully, running the whole show. She was the leader.

I had never seen her before.

I can’t remember her name, or what she looked like.

But there was something.

I was bewitched.

We had so much fun, the group of kids playing together. I don’t remember any faces, any names, only the joy of playing.

But, I remember one thing.

We had stopped for a bit to rest, and we were all standing around in a group .

This girl, this bewitching beautiful sprite was doing most of the talking.

“I have this rare disease,” she said, “and in a couple of days, they are going to have to cut my leg off.”

I never said anything, we went back to running, laughing, and playing.

I never saw her again.

But, this made me sad

I told my mom about this sad, sad thing, and she didn’t say much.

Just recently I remembered this event, and I wondered whatever happened to this girl?….

Wait a minute!

She probably made the whole thing up.

How could she run so fast, if she had some disease in her leg that was so bad that they would have to remove her leg?

In a couple of days?

But, she was so brave.

Or some storyteller.

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