I’m pretty sure my dad really wanted boys when he and my mom started our family. But he was gifted with girls instead - me and my younger by 4-1/2 years sister, Lisa. While we might have been girls, my dad expected us to be tough. In fact, one thing I remember him saying to me growing up was, “You might be a girl, but you don’t have to run like one!” Now, today my feminist side might not appreciate that statement, but I understand the point.
I wasn’t a particularly great athlete; my talents lay more in the indoor spectrum of music and such. But I was involved in the local swim team and softball team every summer. I’m sure it was because my parents wanted me to get outside and be a kid instead of staying inside reading or practicing piano. Often my Dad got roped into coaching the softball team. I’m not sure if he did it because he actually liked it or because no one else would do it, but he coached both Lisa and I’s teams quite a bit. I don’t think he was used to dealing with a gaggle of girls. He’d get so frustrated because he’d treat our girls’ team just like he would a boys’ team. He’d get on to the girls about technique or something like that. Then they’d burst into tears! He wasn’t sure how to handle that!
One year, I really really wanted to be catcher of the softball team. My dad was the coach, so I asked him to put me in. He said no – I wasn’t good enough. All through my softball seasons he always said he never wanted to be accused of nepotism, so Lisa and I had to work doubly hard to prove we deserved it. He didn’t want to be one of those coaches who puts his daughter on first base or on the All-Star team just because she was the coach’s kid and wasn’t the best person for the job. We had to work extra hard to prove we deserved the spot. Well, back to that softball season. I was still the outfield and most definitely not the catcher. One game, our starting catcher was on vacation, our second-string catcher was sick, our third string got hurt in the game and had to be benched. We were down to no one. So, I went up to my dad and said, “Put me in coach!” He still said I wasn’t ready for it, but we were down to the bottom of the barrel so to speak; so it we had to either put me in or forfeit the game. So, in I went ready to save the day – Dad was prepared for us to get annihilated. Turns out, I was AWESOME! I still had a weak arm and couldn’t quite throw the ball all the way to 2nd base, but I could catch anything that came near me and wasn't too terrible for a puny little 5th grader. I became the permanent catcher after that – sorry to whoever was the starting catcher, I think I booted her out of that spot! Oops!