Oklahoma City

Manhood – from the inside out – part 38 – baseball rebels – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-12-04 13:21:23 –

Polar Sophia Shonauer, LCSW, continues to make continuous memoirs. If you haven’t read the first half of this series yet, follow the links at the bottom of this page.


“Baseball is what we are. Soccer is what we have achieved.”

Mary McGlory

In 1974, Little League Baseball revised the Federal Charter to allow girls to play in Little League baseball teams across the United States, but the first time I saw a girl playing baseball was in the 1976 movie “Ganbare! Bears.” So, Walter Massau and Tatum O starred. ‘Neil, and Jackie Earle Haley. The movie depicts a sad bag baseball coach recruiting a former girlfriend’s daughter to market for his team. Then the Bears will start to win. It was like a gimmick. How can a girl play baseball?

My life was divided by gender. “You must not express yourself or participate in activities designated for the opposite sex.” Anyone who chooses to break this commandment will be persecuted, accused, and sent to hell. Was supposed to be.

It was worrisome to see Tatum O’Neill taking part in a boy’s game, wearing a boy’s baseball uniform and playing better than the boys around him, but beyond my discomfort, it’s unpleasant. I felt it was fair. I had never seen a boy dressed as a girl in a movie or TV show, except for jokes, as something was played for comedy or ridicule. However, Tatum O’Neal’s portrayal of Amanda Whurlitzer was not played because of laughter. She was a well-balanced girl, happy with her femininity, but also an effective athlete. I was jealous. Of course, I still didn’t know how terrible it was for girls and women in a male-dominated space.

One night in early March 1977, the phone rang. Mom answered as usual.

“It’s for you,” she said with suspicion, looking at me. “Man.”

I didn’t understand why an adult man was calling me. “Grandpa?”

Mom shook her head.

POLA Sophia (provided)

“Uncle Jim?”

“Stranger.”

Mom handed me a receiver. I greeted, listened, nervous but excited.

“Is this Paul?”

“Yes.”

The guy sounded like a radio announcer, was a clear baritone, and was very friendly. “Hello Paul. I’m Bob Coach. I would like to welcome you to the rebel baseball team.”

I remember this clearly. I thought he said rubble, like Barney Rubble in The Flintstones. “rubble?”

“No, rebels like cars and soldiers.”

“car?”

“All baseball teams in the G League (11 and 12 years old) are named after the car: Firebirds, Cameros, Mustangs, Rebels … you’re going to play for Rebels.”

A shot of adrenaline ran through me and I shouted inward. Yes! !! !! But mom and dad didn’t dare to show me because I didn’t know yet that I signed up for baseball and forged my mom’s name.

“Okay, thank you,” I said.

“We have our first practice at Newberry Field next Tuesday at 4:30.”

“How nice.”

I hung up and my mom was staring at me with a vague eye. She dragged a cigarette and the coal glowed bright red. She had a bear under her eyes and a stress line on her forehead. She looked older than 30 years old.

“Who was it?” She asked, spitting a cloud of smoke.

“There is a man named Bob.”

“What did he want?”

“do not know.”

Before Mom started the Inquisition, I got out of the kitchen and started running. “I got my homework,” I shouted.

I was relieved that I was happy to jump up the stairs to the bedroom and save the baseball debate again.

Paula Sophia
Kaiyahoga Falls Amateur Baseball Association, G League “Rebels” 1977 POLA – Third back row from right. Chris-fourth back row from the right. (Provided by the author)

Next Tuesday afternoon I saw my watch at school. Finally, at 3:30 pm, I jumped out of my desk, ran into the hallway, picked up my jacket and backpack, and broke through the hallway to leave the building. I ran to my house, threw my backpack into the stairwell near the side door of my house, got my bike, and left without asking for permission. I didn’t mean to miss the first practice.

Mom yelled at me when I went down the driveway. “Where do you think you are going?”

I pretended not to hear it.

Upon arriving at Newbury Field, a series of baseball stadiums in the field adjacent to Newbury Elementary School, I saw a group of children gathered around a large man wearing a red ball cap and sunglasses. When I ran up, he saw me, “Paul?”

“Understood.”

“Where are your baseball gloves?”

I didn’t have baseball gloves, and I wasn’t even thinking about asking my parents for baseball gloves. I shrugged.

Director Bob smiled. “Don’t worry. I got an extra.”

I recognized some of the elementary school kids I attended before going to the Redeemer, Donnie, and Brian. I went to kindergarten with them, they were much taller and Donnie had gained a lot of weight, but it was nice to see his cherubim smile. Brian didn’t seem to recognize me, but I was much taller than before. In fact, I was the tallest kid on the team. Only one child was about as tall as I was. Her name was Christina, but she passed by Chris. I turned to her and tried not to reveal it, but failed. She smiled at me, but I made her crazy and told her as much sneaky as possible.

I didn’t mind her playing baseball. It was okay for me, but I was angry that she started doing boys when I couldn’t do girls. She looks more like a boy than a girl, and her hair is longer than mine, but short enough to be mistaken for a boy. It was like the hair of Tatum O’Neal from Bad News Bears. In addition, she was a better player than me and was able to catch the flyball most of the time while she struggled to get used to the baseball mitt that Bob lent me. She was also good at batting, hard grounders and some flyballs. I had a hard time hitting even a foul ball and almost hit it.

Thinking about Chris, I found that she made me a better baseball player. She stimulated my competitiveness and shortened my learning curve. I think every boy felt threatened by her presence and athletic ability, and none of us were very kind to her. But I didn’t talk to her at worst, except to yell at her if she missed one of my bad throws to first base, her position. She was an infielder. In youth baseball, the infielder was probably the best player, except for the center fielder. I played in the light field.

It bothered me. Chris seems to have been better at boys as girls than I was when someone was born as a boy. I wondered if I could be a better girl than her, but I didn’t dare to try or ask. I wish I had the courage to be her friend now.

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Last updated: December 4, 2021 12:21 PM Brett Dickerson – Editor

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