It seems like yesterday when I was a little fellow.
I remember elementary school and playing baseball in either first or second grade. I was scared of the ball and would just stand in the outfield. If the ball came my way, I usually ran the other direction.
I don’t know if I helped my team, the Lanier Lions, win any games, but the cold Pepsi in a bottle afterwards when we did win, was always a nice treat.
I tried out for basketball in eighth grade, but didn’t make the team. I also ran the mile in ninth-grade track in 1975.
I once ran a race, one of the few that I remember finishing, at a neighboring high school track. There were five of us in that race – three ninth graders and two younger runners.
I poured my heart into the race and held a strong second place lead in the ninth-grade class until the final lap when I got passed. My mom was there and I can still see it today.
I kicked it into high gear and just gave it my all. Even though I was the last kid to cross the finish line, my efforts earned me a third-place ribbon in the ninth-grade class.
Back in the day, high schools in Oklahoma had spring football. My good friend, David, and I decided to try out for the team, the Ropers, our sophomore year at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa. He had experience playing in the junior high and I just wanted to try.
We stepped into the meeting that spring day and some of the upper classmen chuckled, but it didn’t stop us from trying.
I struggled through the drills and was sent home to try another activity. My good friend, David, didn’t make the team either.
I also enjoyed bowling and credit my Aunt Alice, my mom’s younger sister, for teaching me the game when I was 12.
I bowled in a number of leagues through the years and once rolled a 633 series. I picked up the sport again in 2015, but only stayed with it for two years.
I have since resorted to watching sports on television these days.
My favorite sports are college football and basketball and softball. Debbie enjoys basketball and softball. She often tells me stories about playing in junior high at Montezuma. I love listening to her tell the story of the time the game was on the line and she collided with the first baseman and came up all bloodied, but she was safe and the Bravettes won.
“She was blocking the bag,” Debbie would say about that game.
A proud and memorable moment for her.
Once college basketball season comes to an end, Debbie tunes into college softball. She loves the game and watches as much as possible.
In late March, we were able to travel to Ames and watch two games between the Oklahoma Sooners and Iowa State Cyclones.
While in Ames, we got our photo take with Paige Lowary, who we met at the first game. Paige, who won two Class 4A state softball titles as a pitcher at Dallas Center-Grimes, played two years at the University of Missouri before transferring to OU, where she helped the Sooners win a National Championship in 2017. She signed autographs and talked to fans. She even brought her National Championship ring and was letting the younger fans wear it and have their photo taken with the ring. Paige said she hasn’t had that much attention in two years. We enjoyed meeting and visiting with her.
The Sooners won both games and a third game, which we were unable to attend. This is the third time in recent years we’ve enjoyed watching the Sooners play in Ames.
We got to watch the Missouri Tigers softball team in Columbia in a regional playoff game a few years ago. We’ve also attended pro softball games in Chicago in 2014 and Columbia, Mo., and East Peoria, Ill. in 2015. We got to see lots of great former college stars, including Chelsey Thomas, the Pride of Pleasantville, play. She played college softball at Missouri and spent a couple years in the pro league for the USSSA Pride before retiring from the game.
As I write this column, conferences such at the Big 12, SEC, ACC and Pack 12 are all playing their softball tournaments. Regionals are this coming this weekend and then super regionals. The final eight teams will advance to play in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, June 3 – 9. We have the WCWS on our bucket list of travels.
I hope you can take time to tune in and enjoy a game of softball.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.