READY FOR SOME SOFTBALL IN PALM SPRINGS? AUGUST 12, 2013
The team was up and out early – even the lazy ones – on Saturday morning; all so excited and looking forward to the game at 2 o’clock. How could we last that long? We were treated to scrumptious breakfast with loads of food — Fred saw to it that we had a good foundation for the day. After breakfast, he and his friends drove us around to get a feeling for “The Springs.” When we went back to the Desert Inn, we lounged around to “rest,” and conserve all the strength we could muster. A few of us played some cards — and I remember I was very laid back, so I must’ve won a few bucks. I can get very uptight when I lose at cards.
After lunch, it was finally time for us to start getting ready to get out to that stadium, so the uniforms went on, and we gathered all the gear that is used — don’t forget your mitt! Except for Terry whose hands were large enough, and tough enough to not have to bother with a glove. I had to remember my catcher’s glove, else I’d be dead in the water, as they say. (And just who is this “they” who is always being quoted?) I also had to remember to bring my breast protector and the shin guards. Thank goodness, it was much easier in those old days for me to remember things. The coach and the fellas who were our drivers saw to it that all the bags of bats and the bags of practice balls would arrive at the ball park. Every player had their own favorite bat, and a back-up or two in case the bat was broken in the heat of the battle.
Off to the stadium where we settled into our dugout, then out onto the field for some warm-up. At this time, the bleachers were beginning to fill up with fans and probably some simply curious about a game with women playing against men. Also, it could be they didn’t have anything else to do on this particular Sunday afternoon.
The picture shown with this exciting tale (I’m the one in the batter’s box) will show that this “stadium” is not all that commodious. There seems to be only 5 or 6 rows, and they end at the beginning of the outfield. So it seems to me there isn’t room for much more than about a thousand fans – if that many. But just look at the end of the bleachers, and there you’ll spot occupied golf carts – much more comfortable on their tokus, while the fans in the stands are ensconced on those hard — which get harder, wooden planks– as the time goes by. Yes, the golf cart crowd was much more comfortable, and they also could’ve been thinking that if they didn’t like what was going on out on the ball diamond, they could just skip out of there and not have to crawl over a bunch of people while escaping to their golf club.
We took the field for final pre-game warm-up, then the men took their turn. Each team then gathered around their coach for a last minute pep talk. The Umpires stepped forward onto the field, one stayed at home plate, the other walked down the line to first base. You can’t get any closer to the start of a softball game than that!
The home plate Ump called out: “Play ball!” We were the visiting team, and I stepped into the batter’s box since I was the lead-off hitter.
I can say with certainty that I must not have hit a home run, nor did I even get on first base. Something like that happening would be a memory under a very thin veil – ready to pop out on a moment’s notice. Most of the girls were so out-classed facing a man pitcher because there were only one or two women who could throw as hard as men. But we did have Lois Terry. She threw that ball really hard, and when she faced men batting she was a terror. The men couldn’t get too many hits off her, like we couldn’t get to first base very many times off them.
Right here and now I have to admit to something: I do not recall a play-by-play scenario of this game. I would be telling some big fat lies if I mentioned a score. I don’t have a clue. What I remember is the overall picture: the fans, the celebrities, the thrill of being there. Also, the game was a very low-scoring tussle, and both teams were frustrated because they couldn’t just walk all over the other and score a whole bunch of runs. It was a fight to the finish, and the MEN came out on top, but we gals didn’t cry — you must know that old saying: “there is no crying in baseball,?” Well, there is no crying in Softball either. Period.
Everyone involved was elated with the game itself, it didn’t really matter which team won. It was a successful endeavor all the way around. The spectators were enthusiastic. The players on both sides had a mitt full of fond memories. And we couldn’t have been happier when our sponsor, Fred, gave us the word that he and the Palm Springs team had agreed to another game in the near future to let the girls have a chance to get even.
Back to the Desert Inn where we had to jump in the shower, get those bodies clean, dry between those toes, then get into our dress duds because we were going out on the town, and I don’t think the Chi-Chi Club would’ve welcomed us in our uniforms and the baseball cleats. When everyone was smelling all nice and soapy-clean, off to Claridge’s Grill for a leisurely, beautiful dinner, the food was excellent. Mr. Claridge fawned over us throughout dinner. His Grill was one of Palm Springs’ finest eateries. The tables had turned; we were the celebrities of the evening. From there, we went over to the Chi Chi Club for some night life and entertainment. There again we were the celebrities. The night ended all too soon, and we were worn out anyway with that day crammed with activities.
On Sunday, we were whisked all over the place. Our day started at Rogers Stables up at the north end where it was Brunch, and this was THE place to be for Sunday Brunch. Everyone who was anyone was there. The property was a real stables for real live horses, and real guys who rode horseback. Toss in a few females, and a whole bunch of kids, while you’re at it. We spent several hours there chatting with all the people we were introduced to. Later, we would take a little drive to CathedralCity where we rode through some very secretive property overgrown with wild bamboo and other growth, ending at the Whitewater Channel with a gambling joint. It was my understanding there were a couple other gambling houses somewhere around Palm Springs. The drive through all that growth was actually scary, but it turned out to be another unforgettable stop in our wanderings around.
Claridge’s Grill for Sunday dinner, back to Desert Inn for much-needed rest, then on Monday back to reality wherever we lived – Orange or Los AngelesCounty.
THIS LITTLE STORY HAS BECOME SOME SORT OF SAGA. THERE IS MUCH MORE TO COME WITH ANOTHER TRIP BACK TO “THE SPRINGS.” TUNE IN NEXT WEEK.
MELITAS FORSTER MONDAYS WITH THE TRAVELING MELITAS