Friday, April 10, 2009

ON SPORTS ~ Roots - Part III...


Roots, Part III:

where previously Molly learned how to play softball in upstate NY before being moved to CT

Just as I was getting adjusted to my life in Rochester, I was uprooted once more - this time to Connecticut. Here I stopped playing softball because I was entering High School and knew that as many other ways I could reinvent myself to new friends, I would NEVER be able to pass myself off as an athlete. So of course I promptly joined the track team. I still couldn’t run but at least there was the bonding of teammates & friends. By Senior year (out of sympathy I am sure) I earned my Varsity letter. I had so many distractions those four years of high school – having to find all new friends, playing violin on weekends in the local University orchestra program, learning to drive, working part-time, homework, and partying with those friends I did find. Baseball took a back seat – temporarily.

Dad & I played catch in the front yard – that much I know. Somewhere along the way I have a memory – true or contrived I am not sure – where my Dad chucked the ball to me nowhere near my glove. In fact, it was at my head. It hit me. I told you I was not talented (although I was a catcher). I learned to put that glove up there at all costs. I became less afraid of the ball after that – I don’t say unafraid – I think one is always afraid of the effect a baseball has on one’s scull. Just ask Bryce Florie.

My Dad. He never seemed to have A team. And he never dressed me up as a baby in a specific team’s garb, choosing my team for me. To me he is someone who just is in love with the game itself. He picks and chooses his rooting interests. All Dad wants to see are two talented teams going at it for all the marbles. Never once has Dad said to me – “This is MY Team.” In any sport. He loves all sports. It seems to me that he roots for the team that he wants to win – but would put his money on the opposite team most of the time. He reserves his right to change his mind from season to season.

1986. This is dooms year for Sox fans. I know that I was rooting for the Sox, if only because, as a Cards fan, I did NOT want to see the Mets win anything. I know that the Sox lost in heartbreaking fashion. Yet I don’t recall watching this World Series (although I have seen the replays so many times it seems as if I did watch it after all). I was busy doing all of the other things teenagers do. I do remember a classmate coming to school the next day with a T-shirt that said something unflattering about McNamara. The general consensus among CT high school Sox fans was that he should have pulled Buckner in Game 6 and the whole thing would have been avoided. I don’t disagree.

If there were Yankees fans in my school they were quiet. I still remember the angst of my Sox fan classmates. I also remember Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary toss for Boston College from an earlier fall season and the joy that brought the New Englanders I was surrounded by. I am reminded of it constantly now as a resident of Flutie’s home town – full circle yet again! I thought it was pretty cool at the time but had no idea what it meant to the locals I lived amongst. This sums up my feelings on that period – good for you guys, whatever it is that happened.

Where I lived in CT was pretty much the dividing line between fans of Boston teams and New York teams. All CT had, after all, was the NHL Hartford Whalers. Thankfully the UCONN Huskies came along later to fill the void the Whalers made when they moved, coincidentally to of all places, my birth state – North Carolina. In the meantime CT residents were left to choose amongst the sports teams of their neighboring states. I had some friends from high school whose parents were New Yorkers, transplanted to CT. They were NY supporters all the way. My ability to visit their home was seriously in jeopardy (as Mets fans they were intolerant of my Cards allegiance) until we found common ground with the NY Football Giants and my first football hero – Phil Simms. The Giants had this coach named Bill Parcells who was pretty popular as well as this assistant coach whose name was Bill too. I knew good things when I saw them – even way back then.

The Giants’ success and my newfound interest in learning the game of football put baseball on the backburner while I lived in CT. Football was only played once a week – on Sundays, when it didn’t interfere with my teenage activities – so it was much easier to absorb than the energy following baseball seemed to take. Plus, there were some really cute guys on our high school football team so it made sense to learn as much about that game as possible. Whereas baseball coincided with my track career.

next week, COLLEGE BALL, where Molly makes her own move for once, to Boston...


Sandy Nawrot said...

I find myself looking forward to this each week! I am amazed at your involvement in sports. My parents had virtually no interest in sports (with the exception of college basketball, which is a religion in IN) so any kind of "following" was half-assed. I laugh at your diversions in high school...I don't think anything productive came out of my high school years. Even reading, which has always been a passion, took a seat for boys and tight jeans and poofy hair.

The Bumbles said...

Haha! Poofy hair - good one! I'm glad you enjoy reading - I think you're the only one who stops by :0)

Carrie K. said...

Hi - thought I'd let you know I've passed you some blog love:

Have a great weekend!