I’ve been thinking a lot about softball lately. From that moment a few months ago when it popped into my head and gave me the name for this blog, to now as I sit here trying to find a story, the memories of my childhood passion are always ready to help.
I don’t recall what year it was exactly, late 70’s or early 80’s most likely. The Vancouver Girl’s Softball Association(VGSA) had finally secured a home of its own. A portion of the old Klineline sand and gravel pit land would be cleared to make way for the complex. In those early years, before there was money to pave the parking lot or even procure an official sign to mark the entrance, making our way into the facility felt like an off-road adventure.
My dad would make the slow left turn from Hazel Dell Avenue onto the narrow, rocky and dusty road that steeply declined before leveling out and opening up into a wide dirt and gravel field. Cars lined up as well as could be expected despite not having the guidance of white lines or concrete bumpers. Once parked, it was easy to see the way from there. A well worn path had appeared, formed as cleated feet tore at the young, errant grass, and it led the way to the those diamonds in the rough.
Early morning games were my favorite. There was something about arriving before the misty, gray shroud blanketing the fields had lifted that felt peaceful, like making first tracks on a mountain or being on the water when it’s surface is still calm and reflective. The aroma of freshly brewed Folgers would mingle with the fog as it flowed from the tiny trailer that doubled as association headquarters and snack stand, summoning groggy parents and coaches who had sacrificed weeks and months of sleep to make this park a reality. As I breathed in the dewy green of a freshly trimmed outfield and readied myself to take the field, I felt excited and proud. This place may not look like much from the outside, but it was ours.
The featured image is an aerial shot of the complex today.
This story was written in response to a prompt from The Daily Post called The Transporter. Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.