Wednesday, January 04, 2017


I began to play Little League in second grade. We were the green team, sponsored by a local landscaping service in Englewood, Ohio. As a girl, I had to play softball rather than baseball. I'm not sure what I thought of that back then. I think it's BS now.

I remember one moment of the tryouts - I was at second base and I missed a popup. Soon, one of the coaches moved me to the outfield. I asked, "is it because I missed that popup?" He laughed and assured me it was not.

He was telling the truth. I turned out to be one of the best players in the league. Maybe the best. When it was time to move up to the older league, everyone knew I would be the top pick. But I wanted to play on the best team, and they wanted me to play for them, too. That's why they told me to sandbag the tryouts.

I remember it pretty well, balls going through my legs, popups bouncing out of my glove, throws going well wide of the one point one of my future coaches ran by me and whispered, "don't make it so obvious."

It worked. The coach of the red team, who had the first pick, wondered what had happened to me, according to my new green team coaches, who told me about it after the draft. We never lost a game that year.

I played third base then, and pitched on occasion. When I got to junior high, we had no catcher, so I volunteered, never having played there before. Two years later, I was starting varsity as a freshman, catching one of the top pitchers in the state and winning our conference.

We had moved. The coach of the Northmont High School team was upset that her catcher of the future was playing at a rival school. If we had stayed at Northmont, I probably would have played in college, because she cared about her players and worked to get them on college teams. My high school coach did not.

I know the difference because my high school soccer coach did care, and I did visit colleges who were interested in having me play soccer for them because of his efforts. I hit .420 in league games and .360 something during my senior year - you'd think colleges would have been interested.

In the end, I guess things worked out, as I was able to study abroad for a year, which put me on a career path in international affairs. That wouldn't have happened had I been playing college sports. Every approaching spring during college, however, I contemplated walking on and trying out.

Funny, this thing called life.

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