Who are the real sports heroes we should be admiring? We idolize major league ball players who are given too much money to play a game. Where do the real American sports heroes play? Take a drive through just about any neighborhood park, in any city, in any state and you’ll find grown men and women playing softball. Twelve inch to sixteen inch, slow-pitch or fast pitch. Good old American softball.
Many great, working class folks play softball two to three nights a week. My dad played sixteen inch until the day he died. Five to six nights a week grown men gathered to swing giant hunks of lumber, get in a little exercise and then commiserate at the local watering hole. coincidentally, the same place just so happens sponsor the team. These guys and girls often wake at the butt crack of dawn and labor away at jobs they may or may not really like. With every brutal minute that clicks by, these dedicated sports heroes are thinking about tonight’s game.
Growing up in Chicago our softball of choice was the Clincher 16 incher. No gloves, just bats and bare hands. The best guys hand bear like paws and a certain athletic grace that sometime only translates to sixteen inch softball. It’s a beautiful game to play. This game created deformities and we kept on playing. Never ask a sixteen inch softball player for directions. He’ll point to three different locations around the city the second he puts up his hand. Guys who limp worse than my high school auto shop teacher, and that dude could barely walk. That is real sports hero dedication in my book.
These men and women play the sport until one of two things happen. They can no longer move any limbs or they die. Folks, those are real sports heroes. Don’t let your children admire the men who are paid exorbitant sums of money and who dedicate their entire existence to their sport. Have them go watch the guys and girls at your local park playing in leagues that requires each player to fork over hard-earned cash to play. Have them go talk to and have a catch with the guy who just spent all day cleaning your kid’s school but still gets in the game he loves because he has dedicated his life to his sport, but he does simply because he loves the game.