My father was instrumental in the founding of Little League in Midland. One time, he brought Carl Stotz, the man who was director and founder of the National Little league in Pennsylvania to Midland. I remember I was about 12, and at that age I loved baseball.
My father went to pick him up at the hotel. I was in the back seat while my father was driving, and you know how sometimes you have a seismic shift in your world? We were driving down Missouri Street — I still remember right where we were, we were right behind the parking garage at the bank — and I announced that I was going to play baseball. I was so excited. But this man turned around and said to me, "Oh, young lady wouldn't you rather be at home playing with your dolls?"
I sat there and I still remember, it was that moment in my life when I first realized that adults could be stupid. That had never entered my mind before, but when he said this, there was this seismic shift in me that adults could be stupid. I said to him, "No, I wouldn't!"
I never understood why he said that. It never dawned on me that I wasn't going to be allowed to play baseball when he was talking. I didn't realize it was a boys-only deal and it broke my heart not to be able to play baseball. And after that moment, i refused to listen to baseball for years.
Finally one time, years later, I said to myself, 'You've got to get over this.' So I sat down and scored a game; a Los Angeles Dodgers game. I used to do that in college in Tucson. I would score them just to break that heartbreak. And today I realized I was suffering from residual bitterness; that I had left something behind that I had loved because I had been shut out. I realized I had to go back and revisit it to see if I still loved it, and I did still love it, but not enough anymore.
Time had marched on, and I had marched on and it didn't bother me nearly as much not to be involved. My daughter, she didn't play, they didn't have Little League for girls then, but when my niece came along, girls could finally play Little League ball. It was back in the 1970s, and I marched over to her one day and said, 'Look! Girls can play baseball! This is fabulous, you have to go over there and try out!"
And do you know what she told me? She said, "Oh, Aunt Roz, I'd rather just stay at home and play with my dolls."