Friday, October 17, 2014

Love in the Bleachers

Do you know who won the Dixie Youth Ponytails World Series in 1993? I do. The team representing the great state of Louisiana was the champion that year. My sister, a ten-year-old pitching prodigy who made that summer's All Star team despite her young age, & my sister-in-law, a future scholarship catcher for Auburn University, were on that championship team.

Oh yeah. 1993, baby.

A ten-year-old Jessica & a twelve-year-old Deni in the dugout:

That summer was the first of many I spent sitting in the bleachers. If one does not already exist, there should be a support group for siblings of traveling softball players. I guess in a way, I, along with a few other siblings whose summers were usurped, formed a support group. You could say we were close. Ours was a bond forged by hours in the car, meals in restaurants all over the southern half of the country, nights in subpar hotels, & hour after endless hour developing sore backsides on hard, cold, unforgiving metal bleachers.  

As we watched from the shadows while our sisters rose to the heights of Dixie Youth Softball glory, a fellow softball sibling & I formed a bond that would outlast the long, humid softball summers.  Sixteen years after our sisters won the Dixie Youth Ponytails World Series, Trey & I stepped off the bleachers & into the spotlight, if only briefly, & married in a ceremony that made those softball trips look cheap.

A short jaunt back in time . . . 

This is one of the few pictures of Trey & me together on that fateful 1993 trip. While you can't see our faces clearly, please take note of the fake plastic poop in Trey's hand, something that helped keep us all entertained during the week, as well as the clipped 'Shell' sign in the background. I distinctly remember my dad noting the sign & arranging the picture with Trey, me, the fake poop, & the utterly appropriate signage in the background.

This is what young love looks like, folks. A twelve-year-old, a fourteen-year-old, a seedy motel parking lot, & some fake poop.

This, below, is me. This is me at twelve, not knowing that a flatiron is in my future. I believe when this was taken we had all hunkered down under a pavilion to wait out a rain delay. What better way to pass the time than to further irritate your hormonal pre-teen, right, Mom? Behind me is the late Dr. Dennis Smith, a man I shared the bleachers with many times. He made softball trips not only bearable, but enjoyable. If you've never been a softball sibling, let me tell you, that is the hallmark of a great man.  

Trey & I circa 1999. By this time we were old enough to opt to stay behind when our families embarked on softball journeys. Without the cover of a softball trip & forced togetherness, we admitted we wanted to spend time with each other. Awwwwwwww.  

From our college days . . . this was taken at Cheap Burger Night at Sonic, a weekly tradition that profoundly shaped our college years. It was not as fancy as it sounds. 

Obviously this next one demands a caption. We were invited to a Halloween party one year & dressed as Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love. Optimistic of us, I know.  

At our rehearsal dinner:

In the Monroe airport waiting to fly to New York for our honeymoon. We married in October, but opted to wait & go to New York in December so the tree would be up at Rockefeller Center & I wouldn't have to sit through a Yankees game. It was a great call on my our part.

I've known Trey a long time. I've loved Trey a long time. I think what it all boils down to is that there is truth in the words, "There are no losers in Dixie Softball." Though I think I earned one, no one gave me a trophy in 1993, but, to quote the Eagles, Who is gonna make it?  We'll find out in the long run.  I know we can take it if our love is a strong one

Not too shabby for a couple of tag-a-long siblings who warmed the bleachers.  

Happy fifth anniversary to us.   


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