The Next Thing

My old house on Tutbury has new occupants, and I’ve officially been in my new residence for about a month. It’s 2-bedroom home located in the College Hill area and only a few blocks from the Washburn campus.

The house is plenty big for Leo and myself, and pretty cool. I’ve finally got the huge bedroom in a remodeled attic that I’ve dreamed about ever since I was a little kid… Unfortunately being tall and having a tall boyfriend make the short ceilings up there a bit inconvenient at times.

Despite the fact I’ve been here for a month, I’ve still got stuff in boxes. And, generally speaking, my house is about as unorganized and chaotic as it’s ever been. Remarkably enough, I don’t really mind it. At least not yet. When you consider the borderline obsessive-compulsive tendencies I have about things being in order (not necessarily clean, but organized and orderly), my lack of caring about the disorganization is somewhat perplexing. Who knows, maybe that’s one of those things I’ve learned to let go of when I was going through the divorce.

In other news, softball season has pretty much officially wrapped up. (Boo.) But lucky for me, rec volleyball season is in full swing. (Swing, get it? Ha. Ha.)

I can’t explain how much I enjoy playing volleyball again. And how awesome is it that I’ve managed to find a team and league to play in that are pretty competitive. At least competitive enough that I don’t worry (too much) about hurting anyone when I hit the ball or go up for a block.

And, in a true sign that I’m playing at a fun, competitive level, I’m horribly insecure about my lack of back row-passing abilities. The second I rotate to the back row, the panic that I felt in high school returns over again. Part of me is thinking, “oh dear god, please don’t let them serve/hit it to me.” The other part of me is thinking, “bring it on, you can do this.” It reminds me on a weekly basis why I was allowed to serve in high school but then quickly subbed out until I was back into the front row… I wonder if that’s something we can do in rec ball..?

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

If you know me, you know I’m not talking about that kind of diamond. Even when I was married, I wasn’t interested in that kind of diamond. The way I see things, big diamond rings get in the way and are unnecessary. Instead, I’m talking about a softball diamond.

I grew up on the ball field. Well, more accurately, the park or the dugout or the bleachers next to the ball field. My parents both played softball when I was younger and didn’t quit playing until my sister and my’s softball schedules became too much to keep up with. I remember spending weekends at tournaments watching them play, running around playing with the other ballpark brats and keeping an eye on my kid sister. (Back in the day she was known to pee her pants and then sit in the dirt to try to hide it – yes, we were that young.) As we got older, my brother came along, and we were bribed to watch him. I remember my dad promising to buy us a scooter if a foul ball was coming at my brother Aaron (who was in a car seat at the time) and we protected him. (Unfortunately for us, that never happened.) During the last season my parents played in a league in Hartford, my sister and I got to take turns filling in at catcher when my parent’s co-ed team was short a girl. Man, we loved it when that happened.

Growing up watching my parents play provided a good foundation for me and really got me interested in playing softball. I looked forward to practice and games, and would cry if a game got rained out. The Lebo teams I played on were always pretty strong. My dad usually coached, or helped coach, and we almost always won. I remember going undefeated and winning the league tournament when we were playing t-ball. It was a cool year because everyone on the team hit a home run at some point.

Once I turned 14 most of the girls on my Lebo team had lost interest in playing, so I started traveling to Emporia to play with Emporia Energy. We were a traveling fast pitch team that made my Lebo team look like a bunch of grandmas. It was the first time that I was playing with an entire team of girls that loved to play as much as I did and were good. Every single person. Even the girl that got stuck in right field. For the next few summers I spent every weekend on the road, traveling all around Kansas playing softball and staying in hotels. It was a hot. It was dirty. It was tiring. And I loved it. For the most part, we all did.

After 12 long years, I’m finally back on the softball field, and man it feels good. Thanks to Michelle Stubblefield, I’ve found a women’s team to play with this summer. And over the course of the past month, I’ve managed to pick up a couple of co-ed teams to help fill-in when they’re short on players. So now I’m on the ball field two or three nights a week, and I’m loving it. I’m definitely not anywhere near as strong of a player as I use to be, and my teams aren’t as dominant as they use to be. But it’s starting to come back, and we’re starting to win on a pretty regular basis.

And now the circle continues. I’m taking Leo to my games and he’s getting his first experiences watching his mom play. Although he doesn’t get to come to many of my games, I know the early exposure is important. It will help him learn to appreciate the game (and winning) and plant the seeds that will make him an athlete for life.