She shoots! She scores!

A readers perspective of playing the game, any game.

My favorite birthday gift of all times was when I was seven. I got my very own baseball glove! It was one of those tiny plastic ones that last for maybe a season before falling apart but it was the perfect size for my hand and I loved it! My Dad had taught me how to throw and catch and I was going to be playing t-ball in the Spring! It was all a tom-boy kid could ask for on their special day. And that t-ball season I put that glove to good use and absolutely fell in love with baseball. After a season of tee ball I graduated into player pitch ball and knew this was the sport for me! I could catch and throw, I pitched a couple of games and as soon as I was able to keep my eyes open when the pitch was flying at me I could hit as well. It was awesome! And not to be all full of myself but our team was the league champs and I was selected for the All-Star team after my second season of player pitch and would have been able to play if I didn’t have to go visit my grandparents that summer. I was so excited about the next year because I was going to graduate again into an even higher level of play and the potential for playing with new players and being on the championship team again was pretty high. Except one thing- my dad told me I couldn’t play.

My father was my hero. He was the man who would read us stories every night. The man who taught me to throw and catch. The man who spent hours hitting grounders to me so I could get better. If he was saying I couldn’t play then he must be right so I stopped. But it wasn’t that I couldn’t play because he didn’t have time or he was just being mean. He honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to compete at that level with older boys that I couldn’t keep up. His intentions were good in that he didn’t want me to be disappointed and discouraged with a sport I loved so much. So the thought was there, but all these years looking back, I wonder what I could have done in that sport if I had kept playing.

I continued to be active and joined any team that would take me to play any sport. Heck I was even crazy enough to join a rugby team in my late 30’s. Not to say that is a young person’s game but, well…I got more injuries in that one season of rugby than in all my years playing sports. Torn meniscus, bruised ribs, black eye (though that was pretty cool to talk about!), sprained ankle, and a back injury that still plagues me today. But dang that sport is addictive! Shooting the boot after my first game and I was hooked! If there weren’t sports in my life, I would think life would get really, really boring. Anything sports is great especially when it features women. I mean I didn’t even play but I was puffed up with pride when the United States Women’s National Soccer Team won the world cup. Even if one was not a fan or doesn’t enjoy viewing sports, the whole idea that the women’s world cup had a larger viewing audience than the men’s was pretty phenomenal and made me pretty happy. It also made me think, I wonder if I could have ever done that. In Chris Paynter’s series Playing For First that possibility is there.  Women competing with the men and holding their own. In my opinion it is doable and the day is quickly approaching where we will see that happen. I can’t wait!

In addition to the idea of women competing at that level I just love that sports is such an integral part of the story. What can I say, I love sports. I got my tennis fix with Diana Simmonds Forty Love plus the bonus Australian fix with the character of Eliot Bancroft. The story was a wonderful blend of new love romance and all the paparazzi of being an exceptional tennis player. Readers can check out Lynn Ames One Love as well and be immersed in the tennis circuit along with the expectations of the players, the recovery from injuries and the image that sport presents.

Basketball was a great love of mine during high school. Something about being small and still being able to take on the bigger players fed into my short complex. Of course being in college was a different story and the bigger players got a lot bigger but it was still fun. I think I would have loved to of been coached by Grayson Viola from Lynn Galli’s Full Court Pressure. That story was awesome as it foretold of women breaking into the ranks of coaching men’s teams, something that is happening today. Another fantastic coach would have been Kenna White’s Sheridan Ross from Romancing the Zone and it’s always fun to dream about returning to sports the way Liz Elliott does.

Today I’m more of a solo sport competitor that can be undertaken without having to get a whole team together. Sports like running and biking. Though my dad would love for me to be a golfer I can’t stand the sport unless of course I’m reading about it. I loved the dynamics of balancing a career and accepting a life challenge like the one presented in Maggie Ryan’s The Deal. Or possibly playing in my retirement years the way Louise Stevens does in KG MacGregor’s Mulligan. But for now I will stick to running though I’m not sure I could do what Judith Alguire’s character of Kay in All Out does. Not just the Olympics part but the finishing a marathon and being able to tell my own pace down to the second.

Another young love of mine after reading all the Black Stallion books as a child was horseback riding. Of course reading about them and standing next to those enormous beasts was a different story. Today I would rather escape into that world with a D. Jackson story like Bareback or Long Shot. Or really get into the horse racing world with Margo Moon’s Grand Theft Equine! That story had love, suspense, and great detail of the horse racing industry.

So readers out there, what are some of your favorite sporting activities and have you found a lesfic story to match that love? I love all sports and would love to find more so please share with me your sport story of choice!

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20 thoughts on “She shoots! She scores!

  1. I hated every team sport to which I was introduced as a child. We wouldn’t discover the reason for my dislike until I was 14- and by then it was too late to fix the problem. I have a lazy eye, so about 50% of the depth perception of a normal person. Those basketball and softballs flying at me really were scary, but I had absolutely no idea why that was and no one thought to investigate. My other eye had better than perfect sight (not anymore, thank you aging) so I read well and never complained that I couldn’t see.

    I did love swimming until my mom got the idea I should be lifting weights. I have state swim trophies from K-2nd grade and to this day I have a desire to butterfly when I go to a pool. I think these days the lifeguard might think I was having a seizure, though. I’m still tempted to go to the Y some morning at 5:00am and see if I can get my body to move that way again. It won’t be pretty, but it could be fun.

    I college I discovered Ultimate. That was a team sport I just loved. A frisbee is a better target for the depth perception impaired and I learned to step off to the side slightly to give me a better idea of where it was. I briefly, very briefly, practiced with Carleton’s first all women intercollegiate team, but I much preferred playing with the mixed intramural teams. There were few of us women playing and the rules on the IM teams stated at least two of each gender (at the time only two genders were recognized) on the field at all times, so I could play almost the whole game without subbing out for other people to play.

    Through it all I have danced. My mom disagrees that dancing is a sport, and it isn’t competitive, and it’s not, from that aspect. Dancers are athletes, however, in the way the body is used and in the muscle, lung capacity, and control needed to perform the moves.

    I also rode competitively for a short time in college.

    To add to your list- and I see some on yours I haven’t read! Kari’s Walsh has Worth the Risk in the horse world, and Yolanda Wallace has Lucky Loser that takes place in the world of tennis. Julie Cannon has Descent about biking. While I don’t do much in any of those areas, I still love reading about them. I’m really looking forward to Melissa Brayden’s new book, since it looks like a dance novel :).

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    1. Ann that is quite that athletic story! I am glad that they figured out what was going on and am glad that you found some stuff to love! I played ultimate and it is a LOT harder than it looks! Lots of endurance and running that is for sure. I’ve enjoyed Karis Walsh’s work so will have to check out Worth the Risk! Thanks for reading!!

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  2. Personally i’ve always favored basketball, since I played so much of it growing up. My favorite *has* to be ‘Interference’ by Zoe Reed. It’s a roller hockey story, but it’s a whole lot more than a sports story. I highly highly recommend it.

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    1. Glenda- absolutely!! I love Lynette Mae’s writing and Rebound is incredibly special. She really made an excellent example of how our genre can diversify main characters. Excellent selection! Thanks for reading!!!

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  3. Oh goody, i just discovered some new books and I’m sure they will be exciting. Most of them I have read and from memory enjoyed. Maybe a reread session is in order for those. Thanks for the blog, I played competitive field hockey and softball as well as netball but all of that stopped when I joined the Army. Dabbled a bit in touch football and rugby ( yes I too still suffer from some of the injuries. It is a brutal sport but so much fun). As for sports now, I carry too many injuries to do anything competitive now.

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    1. Devlyn glad I could help! Netball? That’s a sport I haven’t heard of before. Is it anything like Pickle-ball because that sport name totally downplays the competitiveness of the sport itself.

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  4. My favorites are Fast Break and Slam Dunk by Mickey Minner. She also has put the two main characters into short stories including A Step into the Past. Barbara Clanton has more than just the softball books including two for young girls about Title IX. I don’t think anyone mentioned Heart of the Game by Rachal Spangler. I can picture her sitting thru a whole season of St. Louis Cardinal games, hoping for wins, while doing her research.
    Since I’m much older than most of you, I had to join the Army to play ball. Was able to play basketball and softball before women’s sports were organized. We flew in military transport planes up and down the West Coast to play other teams. Oh — I still have my softball glove from about 1950.

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    1. Sue that is a whole slew of titles I’ll need to add to my wish list!! I would love to hear more about your days in the Army and playing sports. I know today they have Armed Forces competitions between the services, was this similar? And that is awesome that you have your 1950 softball glove!!

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  5. My school years were in an area and era where girls had NO opportunities in sports. But I do love to read lesfic about sports. You listed at least 5 of my favorites. I would add to your list: baseball – Syd Parker Remember Me, softball – Celia Cohen Smokey O, golf – Helen Macpherson Love’s Redemption, and sail boat racing – Nell Stark Running With the Wind.

    And thanks to you and previous commenters for authors and books I hadn’t heard about.

    cw

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    1. cw I was racking my brain to remember Smokey O and couldn’t find it in my bookshelf- so thank you for helping me out with that one! I hate when I can remember the story but can’t remember the title. I really enjoyed the series that Nell Start wrote with Trinity Tam so I’ll definitely be checking out Running with the Wind! Thanks for reading!!

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  6. I agree that “Rebound” by Lynette Mae is a wonderful book about athletes with disabilities. I was an Adapted PE and Aquatics Specialist until my retirement, and still volunteer with disabled sport programs. I’d like to see more on this subject. I love all of D.Jackson Leigh’s books with horses and horse sports in them also.

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    1. kejaeck that profession is definitely one that doesn’t get enough respect or notice. Thank you for doing what you did and for making the lives of so many better. I did love reading Rebound and wish there were more in our genre that had such a wonderful character that celebrated our challenges and our differences. Thanks for reading!

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