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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't Call Me a Girl!

Today's story also happened at Bible Club Camp, in 1961, so I was 13, which was the last year I attended. I was one of the "big kids" by then. There is no spiritual component to this tale at all, except maybe as proof that every once in a while God grants us one of our wild, unbelievable childish wishes.

I loved baseball. And I was literally one of the big kids. Although I'm now considered small, I had reached this height at age 12, and then stopped growing. However, that meant that I was still toward the tall end of kids my age. And I was strong. Very strong. And I could play ball. Baseball was the one sport my dad would play with me. He'd been in the minor leagues and he taught me to hit and throw a ball. We watched baseball together on TV. I spent hours throwing balls up for myself and hitting them, or catching a tennis ball bounced against the roof. This was also before I began damaging my shoulders, so I could still throw.

So now we are at camp. Afternoon sports slot. I wanted to play baseball, instead of kickball with the girls. We were allowed to join any game we wanted during that time period, as long as we were doing one of the activities. So, I went to the ball diamond and told the guys I wanted to play. Of course I was told, "You can't play with us. You're a GIRL."

baseball game

That picture was from my photo album (although from 1960). It's taken behind 2nd base, with a runner, the baseman, and shortstop visible. Note the chainlink backstop behind home plate on the left. The large building is the old dining hall. That building burned around 1990, but it's replacement was put in the same location.

Back to the story. I argued that the sports weren't divided by boys and girls and they had to let me play. No dice. Where is a counselor when you really need one, right? I said, "Look, just give me one up at bat and if I get a base hit, let me play." They grudgingly agreed, eternally confident in the superiority of boys. But there I was, a large mosquito who needed to be squashed.

I warmed up, and stepped into the batter's box. I had no idea who the pitcher was. This was the first weekday of a new camp year. But dad always said, "Just keep your eye on the ball." I was only a tiny bit concerned because they were playing with a hardball, and if I ever got to play in a game at home, it was softball. But who has time to worry about details like that when your entire credibility is on the line? The pitcher warmed up. I got ready. He let loose with what must have been his hottest fastball.

Let me orient you a bit more as to the location of the ball field. Here's a picture taken recently from atop the new dining hall. It looks like the old ball diamond is now just a grassy lawn, but the backstop is still there. Note the location of the Tabernacle. I told you about that building last night.

LeTourneau Christian Camp

All I could think about was hitting that ball. It seemed as if nothing else had ever mattered as much to me. My stance was right. I hadn't choked up on the bat, so I knew I'd get full power in my swing.

Here's the view more from my perspective. Got that Tabernacle located?

LeTourneau Christian Camp

I connected with that ball with the most solid thwack you've ever heard. I saw it lift high in the air and disappear over the top of the Tabernacle. Yes, over the top. It never touched the roof. The boys just stood there with their mouths open. Finally someone went to hunt for the ball.

Needless to say, I was allowed to play baseball for the rest of the week. I never made such a spectacular hit again, but neither did I embarrass myself.

You can call me most anything you want, but please not "just a girl."

See Attention! Draw Your Swords!

See Memories from Bible Club Camp
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Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

That is awesome! What a great story!! I would have been with you, choosing baseball over kickball, but don't think I could have hit it that well! You showed them!!!

vanilla said...

"...every once in a while God grants us one of our wild, unbelievable childish wishes."


Secondary Roads said...

I have always respected you, but now (I confess) I stand in awe. Isn't God good?

Ann said...

Wooo Hooo. Way to go Unfortunately for me I was one of those "girls" that usually got picked last for

Sharkbytes said...

Karen- Thanks for the cheer! You can be on my team.

vanilla- So I guess I get an A?

Chuck- that day, I was in awe myself! I can still see that ball against the sky just floating away

Ann- That's ok. You have many gifts.

RNSANE said...

I got a great laugh out of your tale. It's always kind of fun to show the guys up.

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