Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sports Saturday

Sports Saturday

I picked up an idea from Thomas MacEntee's Geneablogger, and that was for different themes for the days of the week.  "Sports Saturday" appealed to me because both my parents were very good athletes and sports have played a big part in my life.

Today I am going to talk about the event that was probably the most meaningful of all the sporting events in which I participated.  I was about 12 years old and played for the Catholic Church team in the Las Animas, Colorado Softball League.  We had the regional tournament in Las Animas and our team ended in second place to the team from the adjacent town of Lamar.  League rules allowed the winning team to pick two player from other teams in the tournament to add to their team for the State Tournament the following week.  Lamar selected myself and a teammate to join them for the tournament in Colorado Springs.  I normally pitched and my teammate played catcher.  
 
We easily won the first game, in which I played outfield.  The second game the Lamar pitcher got in trouble early in the game so they called on me to replace him.  We went on to win the game and they selected me to pitch the championship game. 

I remember not feeling well and having an upset stomach before the game.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to play; but my mother knew it was just nerves and told me I would be fine, just to go ahead and play.  She was absolutely correct and I was fine once the game started.  We went on to win the game and were the State Champions.  

Lamar Gambles--Colorado Midget Champions
A couple week after the State Tournament an awards luncheon was held in Lamar to present the team their trophies.  I am third from the right in the second row. They didn't bring an extra uniform shirt for me, so I am in my white shirt.

Colorado Midget Champions--1949

To this day this is still the Sports Trophy that I most appreciate and, in fact, is the only one that I still now possess.  Notice even then they were misspelling my name, something I have come to expect!  

I think I have come to realize why this trophy was so significant to me.  When I look back on those earliest years of my sports career, I think the early success was critical.  I expected to win, even if I didn't always win--I expected to win!  As I have gotten older and still compete in golf, I have come to realize that positive attitude was something I took for granted until just about 10 years ago.  Somewhere along the line as I aged, I lost that confident--almost cocky--attitude that  was so critical to my early success in sports.  I am actually glad that happened, because I have now come to realize how fortunate I was to have developed that attitude early and of having it carry through the critical years of my adult life.