I have a confession to make.
I grew up in the sixties. Not the anti-establishment, make-love-not-war, psychedelic sixties. I grew up in the horseback riding, potato digging, plaid-skirts-and-knee-socks, go-to-church-on-Sunday sixties. The word feminist wasn’t in my vocabulary. The independent culture-clashing, ball-busting version had not yet infiltrated my lexicon. I was still a part of the men eat first and the women bring the bowls to the table social order. “Pushing the envelope” wasn’t in the card catalogue at the high school library. I was as fenced in as Holsteins and horses.
Which leads me to the actual confession. I was a Carlisle Comet batgirl.
Yeah, I’m kind of embarrassed by it now but I wanted to be a part of everything around me and I wanted to go beyond the fencerow and see what was out there in places I’d never been. So traveling with the baseball team and dragging those dusty bats from home plate to the dugout was simply a way I could get on the bus and visit schools and towns all around western Kentucky and beyond.
Eventually I WOULD find those people outside my boundaries who redefined gender in a way that ultimately led me to owning a business and living out loud.
But in a high school setting with literally no sports available to girls I admit I couldn’t PLAY a sport so, yes, I became a sports “ornament.” The only things I could do at CCHS to “get physical” were cheerleading and being an equal-opportunity equipment manager. I picked up bats after “boys” had tossed them aside as they headed for first base. I organized rosters, made sure helmets were stowed and ready, and otherwise looked cute in my batgirl uniform. (My face is red to have to say that in print.)
So the arrival of the Paducah Chiefs and summer baseball took me back in time. And just as all sports have changed since the sixties both in gender and race, so have we looked at the world of sports and the world as a whole . . . differently.
So no matter when or where or how you were first introduced to the joy of a summer night at the baseball field, savor the ones that are headed our way THIS summer. Let’s all go out to the ballpark, grab some popcorn, cheer on the Chiefs, and come together as a community united in the belief that LIFE is at its best when we’re ALL playing as a team!