I come from a very small town in rural Iowa. At the age of 14, I became fascinated with baseball. I sat with my father and brothers watching all the televised games on our black and white, and even stood in as catcher while they practiced their pitching and batting in field behind our family's farmhouse. I began reading about baseball and replaced the quilts hanging on my bedroom wall with posters of that era's greatest players.
When I entered high school, which had an enrollment population of 100, I was crushed to find out that there was no women's baseball team. How could this be? Well, I knew one thing: I was going to play at this high school, one way or another. Unfettered by social norms, I quickly signed up to try out for the boy's jv baseball team. On day one of the tryouts, I received ridicule, neglect, harsh insults, and aggressive verbal harassment. These transgressions only fueled my passion to play ball as powerful force. I ran faster than most of the boys, caught every ball that came my way, and held ground when they charged the plate, picking myself up after being forcefully rammed to the ground...ball in glove. By the last day, I was furious by the insolence being spit on me everyday. We were in the last practice game of the tryouts...it was a classic scenario: 7'th inning, 2 outs, lone batter at the plate....me. The pitcher snarled through his teeth, and glared at me as a frightened dog quivers when threatened. I matched his frown with a focused gaze that a cheetah lets out before pouncing on her prey. Suddenly, the pitcher let out a mighty huff before hurling the leather ball towards me at speeds in excess of 90 mph. I slammed that ball with all the energy I had, the contact of my bat to his ball cracked like lightening striking an elm tree in a nearby field. The ball rocketed into the sky, soaring past the outfield and clear beyond the gate lining the field. Eyes widened, jaws dropped, and silence took the field as I proudly made my way around each of the bases...I was home.
As the years went by, I was accepted, and respected by my male peers and even inspired a few other gals to try out for the team. In short, baseball was the platform I used to develop myself into what I am today: a strong-willed , powerful, independent team player who doesn't take no for an answer. And when the odds are against me, I adjust my attitude to meet the situation, kick up the dust, and rise above any doom collecting around me.