The Baseball Game

It was Spring, 1960.

The last day of fifth grade.

The last day of school.

There were two fifth grades in our small town elementary school. I don’t know how we got split into two grades back in those days, but for the most part we stayed with the same group of classmates all the way through elementary school.  There was always a bit of rivalry between the two classes whether it was a spelling bee or just playground games.
On the last day of school, there was a tradition of a baseball game between the two classes and we all looked forward to that game.  We also took it very seriously.

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We had practiced at recess time for weeks and we had picked our positions.   Someone in the class must have taken charge because I don’t remember much teacher participation.  We talked about sportsmanship in class but it seems like the teachers left all the details up to us.  Most of the students were excited about the game, and of course,  beating the other fifth grade meant owning the bragging rights of the victory.

Everyone played. I was a tomboy and my older brother  had taught me to pitch and catch and bat.  I’m sure I thought I knew more than I really did about the game.  Gary, and Jim, and Randy were all good players… they probably were our unofficial team captains.

Everyone brought their own equipment.  It was important to have the right bat… the one you were used to using. And it was important to have a baseball glove… which I didn’t.

I begged my brother to let me borrow his glove and since he had two, he let me have the old one. Never mind that he was left handed and I was not. It didn’t seem to make much difference to me, I had learned to play that way.
I don’t remember the details of the game… after all, it’s been almost sixty years. But I remember not striking out, getting to first base, and catching a popup fly ball. And I remember that our class won.  It was a great way to end the school year.

forest school

my small town school

It’s a good thing we didn’t know what the future held. In just a few years we watched and cried as our beloved President was assassinated in Texas. Fast forward a few more years and we watched Martin Luther King’s assassination and President Kennedy’s younger brother Bobby being shot. We watched friends and classmates head off to college, to work, to start families, and to Vietnam.

The world was a chaotic mess during those years.  Lots of civil rights movement protests, protests against the Vietnam War,  Kent State Shootings.  It really was the best of times and the worst of times.  The world was suddenly full of difficulty and responsibility and complications we had never imagined.

I suppose that’s why the memory of the baseball game has stuck with me all these years. It was something to hang onto when the world seemed to be falling apart.

It seemed so important back then, such a simple thing as a baseball game, on the last day of school.

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About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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7 Responses to The Baseball Game

  1. These “simple” things – baseball games, brother’s borrowed gloves, a game on an early summer day – these are the parts of our life that bring us joy, that stay with us (thank goodness) and keep us going in a life that sometimes is too hard in the national scope of things.

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  2. I’m a 17 year old who just finished managing her school’s varsity baseball team. I loved everything about it. Decades later and that simple happiness you described remains present in my heart over a baseball game. Thank you for sharing; discovered this post on a whim and it made my day.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. When I was 17 (long long ago) there were no girl’s sport teams I am so glad that has all changed and the young women can now compete in all sports. I don’t know if you managed the boys or the girls team, but I know being a manager is a lot of work and sometimes a thankless job… good for you! Thanks for reading….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pat says:

    I love that you bring back memories

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  4. Sue Sanders says:

    I agree with your conclusions about those times. Glad your team prevailed. A pleasant distraction as well as some stability in crazy times.

    Like

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