Growing up every spring I looked forward to one thing. Softball season. I started playing t-ball when I was 5 years old. At the time, we had recently moved to Dunnellon from Arlington. I started K-4, however I turned 5 years old almost immediately (which was the "magic t-ball number to get to play). I made friends with many of the kids in my class at Dunnellon Christian School. One of which is my best friend today. However, there was another kid in the class named Kayne, and his mom suggested we do t-ball.
Mom still tells the story today, how Ms. Martha told her she HAD to sign Melinda and I up for ball. It was just what you did. She was confused as to why this was such a good idea, but Ms. Martha talked her into it, and Kayne and I were signed up. Well it was all basically history from there. We were hooked. I played t-ball for two years, moved up to the minors, got drafted to the majors (where Melinda was), then played in the senior league, and a traveling team. I played on the traveling team during high school. All told, I played ball for about 13 years. I got to be pretty good, and I loved it so much, it is one of the things that I truly loved about my adolescent years.
While recently going though my pictures, I came across the top newspaper clipping above and thought it was blog worthy!
It is funny, the same mom who unenthusiastically signed us kids up for ball, proceeded to fall in love with it. She never missed a game. She shuttled us kids to three different practices (when Jason was old enough to play) to normally two practices per week each, at totally different locations, and then attended the games on different nights each week. Luckily for her, there were a couple times Melinda and I were on the same team, however more often then not, it was three different teams, one for each of us!
There were many a Saturday spent in the backyard at the "big house", as Jacob now calls it, learning to play. Melinda and I would practice together pretty well most of the time, however sometimes her crazy pitching or a bright idea of trampoline baseball led to her bloody noses and bruised shins. Dad even got me catcher gear to try and protect me from her pitching.
Many times Dad would be "catcher" for us. He would sit on a stool and tell us if we couldn't pitch well enough to hit his "strike zone" (which he said was about six foot arms reach) then obviously would be walking a lot of batters. And, not to mention, we had to chase the "wild" pitches, because he wasn't getting up off the stool!!! Those were such good times.
It was during my traveling team years, that I had my best season ever. We went on to the top team competition in the area. At one of the games in Crystal River, I pitched a no hitter, and hit two over the fence home runs. We shut out the opposing team 12-0. I definitely felt on top of the world after this game!
I encourage all parents to get their kids involved in sports. I played softball, soccer, basketball, and did horseback riding all through my childhood. I loved every minute of my sports and wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. Mom and Dad both deserve many thanks, if it wasn't for their willingness to drive me all over the place to participate in so many things, I never would have these wonderful memories. Thank you both for making it possible for me to get the chance to learn and love not only the game of softball, but also to develop some of the other passions/hobbies that I still have today! You both made it possible!