Follow along on social media for our series of “Millie” posts. A Softball Is For Girls original story you won’t want to miss.
(Missed parts 1-3) Catch up Below! Have an amazing softball story you want to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Part (1 of 20)
Millie’s Story – (Part 1/20) “The first time he didn’t show up, I was 8 years old and it was my first game of the season. Actually, it was my first game EVER. He told me he would be there. There was no way that he forgot because I reminded him of the game time at least 12 times per day. The park was less than a quarter mile from his house, so even if he didn’t have a ride – he could walk. I spent the entire game feeling hopeful, as each inning ticked away, I asked the coach how much longer the game would last, probably sounding like a child screeching “are we there yet” while on a roadtrip. If Coach was annoyed, he didnt let me see it. My first at bat, I surveyed the fence line and the bleachers to see if he was there, so much so that I struck out looking. Looking for him….
Up until the time the game ended, even a few minutes after the umpires left, I was hopeful that he would show up…As the girls from my team walked away with their families, I can remember thinking I should wait just a little longer, and certainly he would be there. Then, Coach Mike,oblivious that I was waiting for anyone told me it was time to go. He was my ride home and I knew I had to leave. I spent the remainder of the weekend wondering if he every showed up, making up visions in my head of him running up to the field only to realize he was late. Because late would be better than absent….
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(Part 2 of 20)
Millie (Part 2 of 20) Blue Rasperry Powerade. We stopped at the store after the game, and Coach Mike bought me a blue raspberry Powerade. I will never forget him letting his daughter and I loose in the store and telling us to pick out whatever we wanted to drink. I knew Coach Mike’s daughter didn’t like me much, in fact I didn’t get along very well with most kids my age at that time in my life. As she picked out gum and candy and two drinks, I picked out a Blue Powerade. “Don’t you want anything else – get whatever you want,” he asked.
I did, I will admit, I REALLY DID, but I didn’t want to come across as needy or rude, and as his daughter eye balled me suspiciously, I tossed my drink on the counter. I guzzled 3/4ths of the bottle on the short ride to my house, and saved the last little bit for my little brother. It had been a long time since either of us had anything to drink but faucet water and I knew he would be excited. As I grew up, Blue Powerade became my wine. Any day that was a good day was celebrated with Blue Powerade, and those days were always softball days.
Coach Mike played music in the Jeep, and talked about the game and chatted about how proud of us he was. This was the first of hundreds of rides home I would get from Coach Mike over the span of 6 years I played for him. His daughter, leery of my presence still and just being nice because she was forced to, asked me what size shoe I wore, because my cleats looked huge compared to my height. I laughed wildly, and told her I wore a size 9, hoping she would never find out that I actually wore a size 3…but these were the only cleats I could find and it was much less obvious to wear them than to slip on tennis shoes.
The crazy part is that in all that time, he never knew (or if he did, he never showed it) where I really lived. Every time he picked me up or dropped me off for games or practice, I ran over to a house 4 doors down from mine. It was decorated for every holiday, the grass was always cut, two cars in the driveway, and there was a big WELCOME HOME sign on the door. I would often pretend I lived there, and I imagined that the inside was neat and cozy and smelled like Pot Roast cooking. Coach would let me out, I would run up the driveway to the back of the house waving furiously with a big smile and then wait until I heard him drive away to make my way home. Always with a little bit of Powerade left over for my brother.