I never played t-ball,actually. I’m pretty sure I never hit a ball off of a real tee. However, I did start off with the amazing red plastic bat and ball.
Summertimes in the 1980’s were pretty darn cool. I would say it was because no one was fearful of kidnappings or strangers or crazy people, and we could do whatever we wanted. However, my mom was 3 steps ahead of everyone back then and reminded us constantly that “there are Jeffrey Dahmers everywhere!” ( In her defense, she is a Chicago native.)
But no, summertime was cool because every kid got to do what we dreamed of doing all year: play outside all day, go swimming every day (or most days), ride our bikes all over the neighborhood, make up outrageous games, and play ball.
As a kid (and to this day) my dad worked on the railroad. That means that that he worked almost everyday and a lot of hours. However, he always seemed to make time on the weekends to take us down to “the field” to play ball with us.
I remember it all so well. The cooler of water and pop (Chicago lingo), packing up all our gear, putting on sunscreen, and walking a block or two down to “the field.” My mom and dad would warm us up with a game of catch and then my dad would start hitting a few balls to us. During this time, he would have us rotate to all the different bases, explaining each role in a casual, off-handed way. Finally, he would let us have turns hitting the ball.
My mom was actually a pretty good hitter, but unfortunately, my older sister was a crazy little outfielder who caught almost everything. I’m quite positive she could have played centerfield and caught every ball at every corner…..she was so fast, and her arm was powerful. I always hated playing outfield after her.
Fortunately, I was a good hitter so at least I could rub that in my sister’s face, because she wasn’t. (-: We really cherished all the advice my dad would give us. I still remember him telling me not to be predictable on the mound and how in giving us all his “secret wisdom,” we felt special and important.
Looking back, he was so cool about it. I can definitely remember getting yelled at by my dad, but never on the field. My sisters and I loved those weekends. And not to mention, we were a pretty decent team…for a team of a mom, dad, a 7 year old and an 8 year old ( and a 2 year old who probably played in the dirt the whole time).
In 3rd grade, my dad signed me up for summer ball, and I still remember my coach’s name. I was so excited to be on a real team that I made sure to wear my favorite skirt to practice. In true Davila style, my dad asked me if I was sure I was making the best clothing choice and then let me go on to face the consequences.
I ran onto the field wearing my skirt and never looked back.
That sounds like I played forever, but I didn’t. I actually quit right before my freshman year because it got serious, and I decided that I hated being told what to do. I managed to maintain that attitude all the way into the Air Force recruiter’s office and joined the USAF in 1998 …along with thousands of others who also hated being told what to do.
In closing, it is pretty cool to watch my own daughter play ball and to see how much she loves it. I am so grateful that we get to make these sweet memories. Every time I watch her and Chris, I am reminded of my dad and our summer ball days.
Thank you dad for making such great memories with us. You raised three softball players, and one actually still plays (-: That’s gotta be worth something!
Love you forever,