By Lois Perch Villemaire
I sat on the bottom row of the wooden bleachers kicking the toe of my sneaker into the dirt, creating puffs of dust. I watched as some of the boys were lining up for batting practice while others were pounding the pockets of their gloves with their fists, ready to retrieve balls in the infield and outfield. The manager was lobbing pitches from the mound.
Even though it would be frustrating for me, I decided to walk to the park with my brother for his little league baseball practice. I told him I wanted to watch, but we both knew how I really felt. Sitting on the sidelines was as close as I would ever get, because everyone knew girls couldn’t play little league. I was a tomboy who loved sports, especially baseball. Although I was included in neighborhood games, organized baseball didn’t consider girls. It made me angry.
Little league players wore authentic uniforms with matching hats and numbers on their backs. They played, surrounded by cheering families and friends, with an umpire calling balls, strikes, and outs. Each team had a manager, a father with time to volunteer. Teams had names like Yankees, Braves, Indians, and Cubs.
Why couldn’t girls play? I was good enough. I knew that. One of managers, Mr. McGrath told my Dad that he would love to have me on his team, if it were possible. But in 1958, that wasn’t happening.
I could only sit back and dream about playing. Lost in thought, I wasn’t paying attention but heard a yell and looked up just in time to see a pop-up foul ball coming in my direction. Instinctively, I caught the ball and threw it perfectly to the manager.
“There,” I said, and felt a smile spread all over my face.
Lois Perch Villemaire lives in Annapolis, MD. She writes poetry, flash fiction and memoir. Her work has appeared in Potato Soup Journal, 101 Words, FewerThan500, The Drabble, Pen-in-Hand, Flora Fiction, North of Oxford, and Flash Frontier. She blogs for annapolisdiscovered.com and annapoliswellnesshouse.org.