Monday, October 24, 2011

Do Overs

Up until the time I reached my teen years, much of my social life was based around street games. With 20 houses lining our half of Krause Street, there was never a shortage of kids to form two teams for any number of games. The most popular were kick ball, whiffle ball, stick ball and good old-fashioned baseball. The concept was the same for all of them – the batter hits the ball as hard and as fast as possible and then attempts to run the bases before being tagged out.

I know there is a statistic about the average household having 2.5 children, though I doubt that was true back in the late 50s and early 60s. Seemed like the households on our street had a minimum of three kids each, the average closer to five. The Hamilton’s had a dozen, but they lived on the other section of the street and did not join in our activities.
The other statistic of which I am unaware is the ratio of boys to girls in families back then.  I know our street had more boys than girls, and being a girl was a disadvantage – at least until we hit puberty. When teams were picked, the girls inevitably got picked last. We were considered the weaker sex when it came to athletics.  There was no Title IX yet, so girls and sports just didn’t appear to be an appropriate combination. The boys knew they had to let us play, otherwise the moms would be called in to have a talk with them. It was easier to just include the girls, placing them strategically in the least effective positions. I typically batted last in the order and played a shallow right field.

I preferred whiffle ball. I wasn’t afraid of being hit by the lightweight ball that sailed slowly toward me, usually in an underhand throw. I could typically make contact with a whiffle ball. Stick ball was my least favorite. I simply didn’t possess the coordination to hit that little pink Spaldeen with the thin broom handle we borrowed from someone’s garage.
If I put on a good showing on my first two pitches, showing some actual possibility toward full contact, the boys would encourage me to hit that last pitch with all I had in me. And as I would swing through the air, so hard I practically cork-screwed into the asphalt,  one of the boys would yell “do over”, thereby awarding me one more chance to get a respectable hit. Do overs were bittersweet – it was thrilling to get another shot at making it to first base, but you knew it was a sympathy call. Sometimes, if really downtrodden, you would decline the do over and let the next batter take your place.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have do overs in real life? I often say, “I would love to go back in time, but only knowing what I know now”.  Hmm, what would I do differently?  Well for one, I would start saving money from birth. I would never pick up that first cigarette at age 16 just cause it looked cool. I would make exercise a focal point of my life. I would never miss one of my daughter’s school functions because it conflicted with work. I would choose doing something fun over cleaning the house. I would start living life as a turkey sandwich way sooner.

What I would not do over is anything that would impact my relationships with family or friends. Those were chosen correctly the first time around. Oh, but I would have bulked up and practiced more so I could play a kick ass game of stick ball.
Hey – super special thanks to all of you who placed your Amazon orders via the link on this page. I made $16.49 this month! Don’t forget, Christmas shopping is around the corner. Bookmark the page.

No comments:

Post a Comment