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Museum of Me: June 2022 Exhibit

This month’s Museum of Me exhibit is to showcase my favorite outside game as a kid. Friends. I had to think long and hard to come up with something for this exhibit. You see, my mom always said that we (she and I) were fans of indoor sports . . . meaning reading, sewing, and other handicrafts. Not meaning . . . tag and softball and red rover, etc. The impact of that philosophy is something I have struggled to unpack for years. Really, being raised with that attitude, is it any wonder I have a hard time finding joy in moving my body? But that’s a story for another day.

For this exhibit, I take you back to Carole at 10ish. My stepdad was a huge sports fan, he loved basketball and hockey and golf, but his biggest love was for baseball. And when I was around 10, he and I would go out in the yard after dinner and he would pitch to me and I would bat. He always joked that I missed the slow balls every time but when he threw me a fastball I would hit it out of the yard. I loved those times with him. I loved that hitting the ball felt good and sounded great (there’s nothing like the crack of a bat connecting with a ball) and that it made my dad so proud of me. He would laugh and smile and congratulate me every time I hit that silly ball.

So, while it’s a small exhibit this month, it’s full of poignant memories, and also some frustration due to the conflicting messages I received about playing outdoors and games and sports. Valuable lessons in all of it, for sure.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I have a feeling that many of us women over a certain age received similarly conflicting messages about being outside and/or participating in sports. My parents will tell you that I declined to play in the local kids’ soccer league because I said I didn’t want to get sweaty. But I did get over that. I was never very good at sports, but I think what’s often missing is the fact that the goal shouldn’t be to win or to be the best but rather to participate.

  2. I’m not terribly athletic, but very cerebral. My dad was a natural athlete, but also a natural coach. Title IX didn’t exist when I was small, except at our house. Dad taught me any sporting activity I could want. I could throw a spiral pass before the neighbor boys knew what it was because I understood the technique. I was a nervous softball hitter, because I’d strike out looking. But I learned to pick, and when I hit it was with power because I understood how each movement maximized my power through physics. There wasn’t a softball team at my HS, but when I was asked to be a warm body sub on a coed team in my 30s it was great fun to show them I could hit. I was too slow on the bases to play regularly, but I could hit and understood not being afraid of the ball. Thanks for sharing this museum exhibit, fun to know about you and relive a good memory or two.

  3. I used to love playing baseball (whiffle ball in our case) after dinner. Our neighbor would pitch to all of us kids for hours. Such fun!

  4. My mother, otherwise very ladylike, loved baseball. Her father had taught her to throw and hit when she was a little girl back in the 1920’s. Fast forward to my childhood. My mother took me out to the yard to teach me to throw and catch. After a while, she gave up in disgust, telling me, “You throw like a girl.” I was puzzled—“I AM a girl!” I thought. That was the first and last game of catch.

  5. I . . . feel so bad that you didn’t have the joy of just playing outside in the summer. I loved my “indoor sports,” too. But I tended to take them outside in the summer (I read and stitched and colored and drew — all outside if possible). And I played for hours and hours every day — sports and games and hopscotch and Barbies. (My dad, though? He NEVER played with us outside. He never threw the ball or played Frisbee or ANYTHING with us. He didn’t come to my swim meets. He didn’t watch my softball games. I think because we were girls. I’m still unpacking THAT one. . . )

  6. My parents called my sister the coordinated one (she was athletic, did ballet, etc.) and called me the smart one (I read and got better grades). Both of us have struggled to get out from under those labels, too! But now I can imagine you outside after dinner, hitting the ball and smiling. Maybe you can give it a try this summer!

  7. We didn’t have girls sports when I was in school and no gym class until I was in 5th or 6th grade, so I never learned to play team sports other than our neighborhood kickball games. I feel fortunate that my outdoor time was spent riding my bike all over the place and sometimes to a nearby swimming hole where the water was ice cold even on hot days. We’d play in the woods or on our swings or just sit under a tree and read a book. We even brought our dolls outside or played a board game out on the picnic table. All of the mothers in my neighborhood seemed to want us out of the house!
    I’m glad you have those good memories of playing catch with your step-dad and I hope you enjoy some outdoor time this summer!

  8. Carole, I can totally empathize with doing only “indoor sports”. BTW, I love that phrase! My mother was raised on a large farm, and when she moved off the farm, she did not miss all that manual labor, so she did not push me to engage in sports. I remember playing outside every day until I was probably 10 years old, then I moved to indoor sports as well. It was never encouraged to do sweaty things here in the South if you were a girl. It was not seen as “ladylike”. As a result I also did not develop any athletic fitness after my childhood years until middle age. I love your memory of playing a sport with your stepdad, and I wish I had those kind of priceless memories. Happy Monday!

  9. As a kid, I loved riding my bike, playing outside (I’ve always loved to run!), and swimming … but I was never very good at anything organized and didn’t play any outside sports. Today, my favorite things to do outside are still “play” … in a park, at the pool. and like you, I think my true passion is those inside “sports” 🙂

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