Softball Then and Now When I was nine years old, I switched schools. I went from Freeman Public School to Holy Redeemer Catholic School. This is where I was introduced to sports since my previous school didn’t offer any sports for the students. The first sport I played was basketball. I also played volleyball and softball. It was in fourth grade that I first started playing softball, and my dad found me an old ragged, leather, ball glove to start with. It was so old that the color was faded to a bland, pukey brown, and it smelled like a wet dog.
I wanted to become a pitcher, so I worked hard on my stance, positioning of my arm, and learned how to hold and release the ball from my hand a certain way. My finger tips were to be placed across the stitching for me to pitch a fast ball. I also played first base because I was the tallest on our team and could stretch my legs across the bag to get the runners out. I remember our uniforms. They were the ugliest things you have ever seen. They were polyester and made you itchy and were very uncomfortable to wear, especially when it was scorching hot.
Our pants were a mustard gold, our shirts burgundy with mustard gold trim, and lettering that said Holy Redeemer Flyers. I had the number twenty. I also wore an ugly gold and burgundy baseball cap, which with short hair made me look like a boy. The coaches gave nicknames to all of us, and mine was Tigger because I was such a tomboy that I reminded them of a tiger. I still play softball to this day, and I have now switched positions. I play left field and sometimes right field. I still bat around a . 600 average.
My new nick name now is Gazelle. I think that is because I run so fast that my legs stretch across the bases, and I have a tendency to overrun them just to score a run. My uniform is now much more comfortable than the school uniforms. I get to wear a blue sleeveless shirt with a mad faced ball on it with the words Riverfront Optical written on it in white. My pants are silky blue and I wear white slider pants under them, and I still wear the number 20 on the back. I have been playing for many years now, and I can recall a particular game.
We were losing and I was playing out in left field, and we had two outs and one to go to get up to bat. I was thinking to myself, if only the batters would hit the ball my way. Then crack went the ball off the bat high in the sky. It flew over the player’s head playing third base. Still high in the sky, I could see the ball, so I ran as fast I could from far out in left field and was able to catch the ball for the last out. The only thing I did wrong was when I caught the ball, I put my bare hand up with my glove and the ball had nicked my fingers.
I didn’t realize what had happened until I ran in from the field. As I came running in, I was shaking my hand because it stung so badly that I didn’t see that I was flinging and splattering blood all over my shirt. It was when one of my team mates noticed all the blood and asked me what was wrong that I realized I was really hurt. I can remember someone telling me to let them see my hand, and as I did, I heard someone say they could see the bone and the blood was gushing out.
At that point I fell to my knees and passed out, and after that I was rushed to the hospital because the ball had hit my two fingers so hard it dislocated and popped out the bones through my skin. I ended up getting my fingers put back in place and three stitches put in the place where the bone had protruded out. A week later I was back out on the field playing with a splint on my injured finger and batting with my middle finger pointing straight out. Years later, my team and I entered a softball tournament called Blueberry.
At this particular tournament, we had to play on a church field that was all grass, including the infield. This field was so awful you couldn’t tell where the infield started and where the outfield began. It was my turn up at bat, and as I swung my powder puff pink bat, I cracked the ball deep into left field. I ran to first. Then I rounded my way to second base, and at this point I turned and looked and thought I could make it to third base. I made it to third, but as I was turning to run home, I slipped on the wet grass and fell flat on my face.
As I got up to run back, I was caught up in a back and forth of hot box to get me out. I was run down to the point that every time I tried to get up, I fell again and fell at home plate. I then proceeded to go back to third, so I wouldn’t be tagged out. Then it happened again. I slipped and fell head first at third and was tagged out on my head. When I finally got up, I realized what had happened, and I had grass stained scraps and cuts all up and down my legs and face. I was so mad at myself because I knew that the grass was wet, and all I could think about was getting in a run to tie up the game.
I rushed myself and it cost the team a scoring run. To this day, my team and I still play our regular game season at Elms Park in Swartz Creek and are undefeated. We also try to play in other tournaments. We continue to play every summer in the Blueberry tournament, and we have learned to adjust to play on the grassy, church field. Even though we can’t finish the entire tournament because once you lose two games you are out of the tournament, we still make the weekend a fun experience.