Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vignette



OK, I'm back, but it's more softball stuff.

Actually, it's not so much softball stuff as it is baseball stuff, but I know the distinction doesn't matter much to some of you. However, it comes with a large helping of childhood reminiscence, so perhaps that will make it more palatable for those of you who wouldn't ordinarily care for sports writing.

No matter what you eventually think of it, you won't find it here. It's published on the M Street Softball League website. Please go HERE to read it.

(OK, I suppose I should confess. It was originally published in this space, in 2007, in a slightly different form. I've added a few words here, taken out a few there, and removed all references to what was happening in my life in 2007.)

By the way, I think the website itself for M Street is a swell place to poke around and find interesting things aside from my writing. But, then again, I'm a softball junkie, so your mileage may vary. In any case, Mark Senna, the commissioner of the league, does a fine job over there, and it's very much my pleasure to contribute what I can to the effort.

Soon, with more batter stuff.



15 comments:

Jeni said...

A great story about kids and how they can improvise to make their own place to play this sport. I love your stories about life when you were growing up -very easy to then visualize in my mind's eye.

Merisi said...

Now, as to the distinction between a softball and baseball, .....
Anyway, I would not want to have to test if a softball hits you harder than a baseball. ;-)

Cheers,
M.

joeh said...

Excellent, I loved it!!

Kind of a city version of a suburban story I posted in April, "THe Great George Garbageboatwalk" only as one blogger out here says, "More betterer."

Matt Conlon said...

That story makes me wish I'd been forced outside as a kid more often. I don't have any such memories, as I was more into not doing anything...

Uncle Skip, said...

Yup.... those were the really fun games
...and, "We weren't idiots."

Craig said...

Oh, my goodness, Jim; that there is a whole boatload of wonderfullness. . .

The town I grew up in had plenty of open green spaces in which to gather for an impromptu ballgame, so we never developed the whole 'sliding on asphalt' ethos (For your sake, I'm just glad that, when you and I were kids, the Pete-Rose-style head-first slides hadn't come into vogue yet). But we did occasionally play on a school playground, with a 'one-size-fits-all' strike zone drawn on the wall with chalk (don't need a catcher that way).

As to the extreme breaking balls, my brother and I used to play one-on-one whiffle-ball games in our back yard. You'd think I'd have learned to hit a curve ball better than I did. (*sigh*) And after a while, the tubular plastic bat got beaten into something sorta flat and curved (sorta like a flattened-out question-mark), so you could do some fairly bizarre things on the hitting end, too. . .

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

Oh man does that story bring on some memories
To this day there are very few, if any place for neighborhood kids in SF to play a pickup game, except for schoolyards
Someone, in great wisdom, determined long ago the SF schoolyards should be 100% asphalt ...and terraced
Needless to say, I can relate quite well to your story
Probably the only major differences are no three-deckers, we had real baseballs, and a short right field
Fly balls were outs and infielders played the caroms

messymimi said...

Great story. A childhood any boy can be proud to claim.

Barbara Shallue said...

I pictured Sandlot all the way through this. Love that movie. We were blessed with a vacant lot right across the street. Your moms were extra special letting y'all play there, despite the asphalt rashes!

Buck said...

Time: Any Saturday or Sunday during the summers of 1965 through 1968.

Well, right of the bat (heh)... you sure know how to hurt a guy. I did my first two-year tour in Japan during that time period, which was when I made staff sergeant. And you were 12?!?

Aiiieee.

Other than that (which is enough), you were yer usual, brilliant self.

silly rabbit said...

Excellent set of memories! I loved this one!

We had the great fortune to live half of a block away from the local jr. college with its long, narrow lawns that stretched a full block. However, we could not use anything to mark out lines and our bases were hot pads stolen from our mother's kitchens that tended to move around. I can't tell you how many times I was chided for grass stains on my pants. Those were good old days and there was never enough time. As soon as the street lights popped on... everyone scattered to pick it up where we left off the next day. =:]

Jackie said...

Great post, Jim. I find it refreshing to know that there are good men like you (and I know there are others just like you) who value the things that matter in life. I know why I like you so much; you are the real deal. I'm honored to call you friend, and I wish the world had more people in it like you.
Hugs,
Jackie

Michelle H. said...

I remember this story. A great little piece.

lime said...

what a wonderful vignette. i don't recall reading it before so i am glad you republished it. makes me think of the movie, "the sandlot." surely you must have seen that. if not you MUST! anyway, lots of important lessons to be learned on that asphalt lot.

Daryl Edelstein said...

I remember this .. good writing even if it is about sports ;)