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!