My dad wanted boys

It was no secret that my dad wanted boys. Instead, he got two girls. He didn’t love us any less but we all knew he would have loved to come to attend his kids baseball games, show his kids how to use his tools, and show them out to fix their cars. Instead, he had to tell stories of taking us camping in our little pull-behind-a-car trailer and spend the entire weekend filling the water tank up so my sister and I could wash our hair, do our nails and so on. Instead, he had to endure the fights between sports on TV or beach party movies, you know, chick flicks. My sis and I weren’t born with any sports genes. None.

My adult daughter just came to the house to pick up her soft-ball and glove to play catch with her boyfriend. It’s funny, but my sister’s two kids and our daughter have plenty of sports genes to go around. It must have skipped a generation, or come from their dads. My dad lived long enough to watch my nephew and niece play soccer, and they were good! He didn’t live long enough to watch our daughter play soft-ball and help pitch the city league team to the win, or come to her cross country and track meets where she received lots of medals.

My sis and I laugh when we talk about what our names would have been if we had been boys. We can only remember Jeff, not the other name, so we fight over who would have been Jeff. When I worked at the plastic factory, as an adult, the employees there started a softball team. I always joined in things, pot lucks, home décor parties, la-la-la, so a lil ‘ol softball wasn’t going to stop me from joining in, even if I had no idea what I was doing. My foreman, and my friend, also encouraged me to play. She was certain she could teach me skills and I would be somehow be an asset.

Well, this tickled the heck out of my dad. He was finally going to get to see a son play some sports! He was so excited he took me to purchase my glove and bat. Helped me soften my glove and got just the right weight bat for my weight, which at the time was around 103 lbs. soaking wet.

We had practice after practice and I was beginning to see that my foreman/friend was having a bit of difficulty on placing me in the game. I ended up in left field, w-a-y out in left field. (I think I was still on the field) Luckily, no one ever hit a ball my way. I did my ready stance and looked good on the field. This was easy. A couple of games in, dad came to see me play. Well, alright. Now he was gonna be real proud of his daughter/son.

Half way through the opposite teams turn at bat, my foreman yells, left-hand batter. I nod like I know what this means. She says, “Cindy heads up.” I looked puzzled. Was this different somehow? She yells, “Coming your way.” What’s coming my way? Or crap! I get it. Okay then, Dad’s watching and I can do this.

A swing and a miss. Another swing and a miss. One more she’s out. She hits the ball and hits it hard. Hard enough to come all the way out to the very back of the field where I am standing. I run up to get it. I scoop it up from the ground (didn’t make the catch) run in one-two steps because I can see it’s a l-o-n-g way to my team mate at third base. I can do this! For dad! I heave back my arm with the ball and throw it. Throw it as hard as I can.

I throw under-hand. CRAP. Like a real girl. The ball goes straight up in the air and comes straight back down in front of me. The hitter runs home and scores a home run. I yell out a very bad word and throw my mitt to the ground. The third baseman runs out to meet me half way where I can manage to throw the ball to her. Gee-whiz, that was embarrassing. I can see my dad is trying his hardest not to laugh out loud because he knows I am upset. I am upset because I have disappointed my dad. Full circle. My foreman/friend walks out to me, puts her arm around me and tells me it’s okay. “Good try.” She always was good for my morale. She said in some ways I was her best team player because I showed up for all the practices and all the games. Nice.

Well dad never got his boys, but he sure got a lot of good stories to tell the guys at work. I’m sure my sis and I were often the reason for laughter.

May 2024