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Play Ball!!

While living in Maryland (between ages 3 and 7) it would break my heart that my brother would get to go to school and I wouldn't. I vividly remember sitting behind the plaid printed 1970's chair set at an angle to the door and begging to go to school. I remember the typical response, that I was too young, I was too little. I would go someday, but not just then. I hated that. If my brother was going, I wanted to go, too!

I sat and waited for my brother to come home from school one day out on the front porch. Mom was with me wearing a black and white sleeveless sweater and dark jeans. Her hair was held back in a pony tail and I thought she was the prettiest thing I had ever seen, just like a princess. Daddy was a prince, and if he was married to Mom, that would make her a princess, right? Kids have such imaginations.

My brother that morning had mentioned that I was a girl and wasn't good enough at catching a baseball to play with him and his friends, but what 3 year old is very good at playing catch? Whatever my brother was doing, I wanted to do it too. It broke my heart that he didn't want to play with me. Desperately, I wanted to get better at baseball so that I could show off for my brother, making him WANT to play with me.

I begged and pleaded with my mother to play catch with me that day as we sat outside waiting for him to come home from school. She finally relented and fetched her old glove and a large soft ball. Many years later I discovered that she had actually been a Soft Ball champion at her High School, having won several games at the last moment like a true hero. She conveniently threw her arm out on a whim and somehow miraculously caught ball after ball without really meaning to or realizing she had done it. They won State Champion games thanks to her - and my brother thought girls couldn't play baseball.

As she tossed the ball a whopping 3 feet to me, I managed to catch the ball about half the time. I was quite proud of myself and did seem to get better as the time went by and we waited for the school bus. Mom was so good at soft ball, she didn't even have to watch what she was doing. She just reached out and caught the ball every time I threw it with the 3-year old overhand toss.

I started to get comfortable with catching the ball each time she tossed it and so I decided to move back a foot more. Right about then the school bus pulled up and my brother got off the bus. I waved at my big brother. I wanted him to see how good I was doing at playing catch with Mom. She waved too though, right after she tossed the ball back to me. As I stood there watching my brother, trying so hard to impress him with my newly acquired skills, that ball struck me right on the bridge of the nose.

Blood spouted from my nose as I fell backwards with a thud right on my butt. I started to cry and my eyes welled up with tears, but my brother was coming. I choked it back, picked up the ball and tossed it back to Mom. Seeing the blood streaming from my nose, she didn't want to play anymore and ran inside to get some paper towels to soak up the mess dripping onto my OshKosh B'Gosh overalls.

That following week my brother let me play baseball with him and his friends finally.

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