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My sports journey…the early years.

April 21, 2011

I grew up loving sports.  My earliest memories are of wanting to be an athlete.  I have always been a tomboy, never wanting to wear dresses or pretty shoes.  Eventually, I did come around to enjoying fashion. 

I used to love that I was the only girl on the street playing ball with all the boys.  I only had 3 barbie dolls and I loved getting dirty.  Back then, it was still amazing that a girl could hit a baseball or (kindof) throw a spiral. 

Organized sports were not as prevalent back then, especially for girls.  I grew up watching my brother play hockey and baseball while I watched on the sidelines.  We tried to start a girls hockey team when I was nine, but we only found about 8 girls who wanted to play.  We’d need at least 12 to have a game so that didn’t work out.  I refused to wear figure skates.  Only hockey skates would do.  I skated during the boys practices and during open skate.  I’d soon put down my skates for good.

Finally, in the 5th grade, I played on my first softball team.  The coach didn’t care if I could play.  His eyes lit up when he saw how tall I was.  You will play first base, he said.  OK, I just wanted to play.  I used to play catch with my dad on the front lawn.  Sometimes, we would play a game of “pickle” with my bother and the neighbor kids.  I could throw hard, but not always very accurate.  So, first base was perfect for me.

The years marched on and I played softball in the Parks and Rec league every summer from then on.  I would swim in our backyard pool all day and play my games in the evenings.  I could even ride my bike to practices.  In those days, we actually played in the summer instead of the early, frigid, spring. 

We had a basketball net attached to our garage.  I would watch my little brother dribble and shoot all day long.  He played so much that he wore off the grip on the ball.  It was as smooth as glass.  I was about a foot taller than my brother, but he could dribble right past me and score every time. I wasn’t too great at basketball, but I would play sometimes.

For some reason, I decided to try out for our eighth grade basketball team at school. 

I was so terrible.  But, again with the height.  I was tall and I guess that was all that mattered.  I didn’t even know how to make a layup.  I was one of two who never got in the games early in the season. I remember Jennifer and I crying in the locker room after those games.  I knew I was pretty bad, but I still wanted to play.  I’m not sure how I did it, but by the end of the season, I had worked my way into the starting lineup.  I figured out how to steal the ball from the opposing point guard.  I would get fast breaks, run down the court alone and…slam it off the backboard.  Still couldn’t make a layup.  We had one play.  I thought it was pretty cool.  I finally started to shoot…and miss a lot.  The highlight of my 8th grade basketball season was hearing my name on the morning announcements once for being the team high scorer…with 6 points.  I’ll never forget it. 

OK, fine, that’s me on the far right in the middle row.  I am still good friends with Vicki, Kara and Laurie.  I am cracking up at our hair and tube socks.  I don’t think any of us had high tops.  I have no idea how many games we won that year. 

I went to tryouts for the High School basketball team that next summer.  It was a bit more serious than the 8th grade team.  I think I had to have more talent than just height.  OK, I know height is not a talent.  I lasted one day.  The coach asked us to run the mile.  I had never run a mile in my life.  I had no idea that I should have been conditioning and practicing.  I could barely finish the run.  I decided that I never wanted to do that again and never went back to tryouts.  I wish I would have stuck it out.  I’m thinking I might have been cut anyway, but at least I wouldn’t have been a quitter. 

I did try out for, and make, the varsity softball team in 11th grade.  I think I must have barely made it.  I was okay, but not great.  That team was really good.

I hurt my thumb playing first base and it didn’t heal until years later.  So, I warmed the bench on this team, too.  I was just happy to be there and be part of this Conference Champion team.  As I look at this photograph, I am really enjoying the skinny arms and totally flat stomach.  I can’t help it.  Ah, to be 16 again.

I was cut the next year.  It was a true disappointment to me.  But, looking back, it was probably the right decision by the coach.  I was good enough to play in the rec leagues, but I was a borderline varsity player….in any sport.  I went to one day of volleyball tryouts.  Again with the running.  I hated it.  I loved swimming class.  I was pretty good.  Maybe I should have tried out for the swim team.  There were not a lot of female athletes in my family.  My cousin played some.  She was really good.  But, other than that, I had no real role models in the form of female athletes at home.  I wish I was encouraged to work harder and practice more. 

I continued to play for fun and played intramural sports in college.  I played softball, volleyball and basketball.  I began playing co-ed sports in the local city league with my friends from high school.  It is then that I was reconnected with some great friends and a passionate athlete and sports fanatic named Mike.  Mike and I would start dating, fall in love and get married. Our love story began on the co-ed softball field.  It sounds so romantic when I say it that way.  Mike was impressed with my love of sports and I reeled him in.  And that is a story for another day. 

Thank you for reading my first blog entry.  I have lots of ideas and look forward to hearing from you! 

I look forward to blogging about my experience raising three athletic sons.  We have enjoyed watching all three of them play for the past 13 years or so.  My love for sports has reached an all time high as I have cheered for my sons these last 13 years.  My greatest joy is sitting in the bleachers (or one of those fold up bag chairs) watching them play.  We’ve watched them play every sport known to man.  OK, not every sport.  There has to be a ball involved.  No pucks, skis or skates.  So my stint with that non existent girls hockey team might be the only hockey post you will see from me. 

I’ll talk about little league, high school sports, disability sports, the paralympics, serious competition, crazy parents, playing time, coaching, living vicariously through our kids and much more.  I hope you will subscribe today.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Scapini permalink
    April 21, 2011 1:26 pm

    Great start! I am already hungry for more. Too bad we didn’t grow up in the same neighborhood. One of my greatest disappointments in life was finding out that I couldn’t even try out for my jr. high football team. I was better than at least half of those guys!!

  2. Kelley Killop-Marble permalink
    May 3, 2011 1:19 am

    As I continue to get to know you and your wonderful family…even after 16 years of hit and miss “knowing one another” …I amazed at your dedication to be (and teach your kids to be) the best at whatever it is you and they reach for! I have told you before and I am writing it now…YOU (and THEY) inspire me! BTW, I got home tonight from spending the evening sitting in one of those fold-up bag chairs at Lombardo Park watching Little League! I am still trying to get as excited as you about the whole thing…but you know the details of THAT other story!!!

  3. May 6, 2011 1:04 pm

    You seems to be an expert in this field, Great post and keep up the good work, my buddy recommended me it.

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