I started playing softball in Helena, Montana, when I was 9 years old. I was in third grade and was the smallest kid in my grade. My older neighbor, Tammy, invited me to play on her team. She was the pitcher and I was the catcher.
Actually, I caught the ball very few times that first year. The city park league only had a huge face mask that Sarah, the league umpire, had to adjust to its smallest size each inning I played. Even then, it slid down until the large foam piece covered my eyes. I either held my head tipped back slightly or held the mask up with my right hand and tried to catch with my left hand.
Times have changed.
Rebekah and her teammates wear the full uniform, down to cleats and the cool elastic belts. The stands are filled with cheering parents. The kids get trophies every year just for playing.
There’s one thing I hope doesn’t change – that she will always love the game.
Someday, I hope, a cloud of sandlot dust will bring back a sandstorm of wonderful memories.