Friday, July 15, 2005


Every year around the time of the all-star game, I get out my last pair of spikes and relive those halcyon days of yesteryear. Let's just say I know how Ricky Henderson feels. Lacing up my cleats brings back a flood of memories. Like the jokes my coaches used to make about how slow I ran. I wasn't slow, I just had longer strides. Another coach I had used to saunter out to the mound after I'd walked someone in a big game and he'd ask if I would be showing up to play any time soon, then tell me a dirty joke. After awhile he just skipped to the joke.

I was playing four and five times a week with doubleheaders on Sunday and taking my children with me to every game. I set them up on the sidelines on lounge chairs with their comfort toys and some snacks and they'd sit and watch quietly for the whole game.

Those were the summers when I spent more time wearing shirts with names of bars on the front. And all my socks were striped hightops.

If you look closely at the picture of the shoes, you can see the orange dust from some ballfield tracing the outline of the stitching on the leather.  

By the end of most games my spikes were completely orange from all the dust kicked up during the game. I'd wipe them clean afterward and polish them good at the end of the season.

Except the last time. When I knew I wouldn't be playing anymore. I was already two years passed my expiration date. So I just wiped them off and left them as they were. Like people who bring back sand from the beach.

The other day, I thought about putting my cleats on and walking around on the lawn pretending I was aerating the soil. Just to feel the grass.

My gloves are in storage. In fact one of them is still in New Jersey because I used to play catch with my college roomie's niece who was a high school pitcher. She regularly left my shins covered in red welts after an hour of letting me catch her practice. I don't have to worry about anyone taking that glove because it's lefty.

If I had my gloves on a convenient shelf at home I'd probably get them out on a nice day and see if some neighborhood kid wanted to play catch with me.  Yeah, sure, Mrs. Linklater, maybe later. Shouldn't you be crocheting blankets or something?  

It's not just my softball spikes, either.  

I saved my favorite pair of Bruno Magli spikes, too. They're tame by today's standards, only three inches high, but those red open-toed sling backs can still take me down memory lane.  Of course, watching me try to get them on is a little like Cinderella's ugly stepsisters trying to jam their size tens into a size five glass slipper. Hey, these used to fit. I can't believe I ever walked on anybody's back in those. Or danced on a table off that island in Greece with that gorgeous tour guide.  Yeah, like any of that happened.  I'm saving them for the grandkids to play dress up.  You never know -- by the time my daughters have children, boys might be encouraged to develop their feminine sides.

And girls might even be given a bat and a ball on their fifth birthdays.  Either way, I'll have the shoes for them. Here, kids, you can play with Grandma's spikes. 

I can't wait.



gaboatman said...

Thanks for taking us along on this stroll down memory lane.  I enjoyed it.  I hate to confess ignorance, but the Bruno Magli's... those aren't spiked heels are they?  If so, you're not getting anywhere near MY back with those things, LOL!

swibirun said...

Another fantastic entry, Mrs. L.  You know, George Foreman came out of retirement.....perhaps Mrs. L should lace them up one more time?  


swmpgrly said...

I think you need to start up a team...The linklaters.

robbush6 said...

It seems as though both sets of spikes have served you well. Dress up day promises to be exciting in Meemaw L's attic.

screaminremo303 said...

I saw the movie. Were you "All the way May"?

jevanslink said...

Robin -- leave it to you to get to the heart of the story.I was asleep at the switch on that one.

Remo -- you wish.

Mrs. L

salemslot9 said...

boys might be encouraged to develop their feminine sides...uh...hope not that feminine

suzypwr said...

I don't think you should bronze them. I think they should be in a place of honor where you can see them every day. How could you look at them and not smile? I do mean both sets of spikes :)


mombzbe said...

Any grandma can bake cookies, but the cool ones know how to throw a ball, too.
I'm just jealous that your children would sit and watch quietly the whole game.  Mine would be running onfield, to "help."

shaz19743 said...

I can almost hear the strains of "this used to be my playground " in the background . Your already in a league of your own anyway Mrs L .....get those spikes out , get em on and get the whole neighbourhood out in the yard for a throw about .....still laughing at remos"all the way may " comment hehex