When I was in school, there were only two places I was totally comfortable—the journalism room and the softball field. They were the two places I knew without a doubt that I belonged.
The journalism room is pretty obvious—after all, I am a writer. And when I was in high school, being on the newspaper staff was the only avenue available.
I started playing softball the summer I was ten. We’d moved to Vancouver the previous year and when a bulletin came home saying that Vancouver Girls Softball Association—VGSA—was doing sign-ups, I jumped on it. Mostly because it was the only sport I knew something remotely about—having watched my parents play on a co-ed team when we lived on the Navy base in Keflavik, Iceland.
I wasn’t that good to begin with. In fact, I was horrible. I was super shy, awkward, and kind of clumsy. Still am clumsy. My family calls me Susan Meyer and trust me it’s not because I look like Teri Hatcher.
I played right field for half a game because we all had to play at least half a game. I don’t remember much about that first season except the game—played at the old Vancouver High School field—in which I stopped Margaret Bannon from getting another home run.
Margaret Bannon was a year younger and a true athlete. She was also a spitfire. And boy, could she hit. She suckered you in because she was so small, you’d think she could barely hit. I spent a couple of different innings chasing after her home runs.
But by the last time she got up to bat, I remembered and walked to the back of the field—because it’s easier to run forward than to run backward. I told my fieldmate, Carla, to scoot back as well.
I don’t remember if we actually caught the ball—I don’t think so, though. But we stopped her from getting a homerun because we didn’t have to run after the ball while she ran the bases. I think she ended up with a single or a double—we weren’t the best throwers either.
The next year, Carla’s dad became our coach and my dad assisted him. I got better every year. I became a shortstop and while I never hit a home run, I was a consistent hitter.
I played all through school and after I was out of school. I played until my daughter, Kristen started playing tournament ball. Supporting her was more important than playing myself. And God, how I love watching her. She’s the ball player I always wanted to be. I worked hard to be half the ballplayer that she is just naturally.
And now I’m writing about two ball players—a grandmother and a granddaughter. And it’s renewing my love for the game. Last night I went and watched Kristen play in her women’s league—it was their last game of the season and the first game I’d been able to go to because of work. Even as the air cooled and dark descended on the field, it was a good time. Could have been because they won the game, 15-1. But mostly it was because I was at the ball field.