I’ve started to watch professional baseball more this summer. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I played the game as a youngster in the late 1970’s and early 80’s and have always enjoyed the game. The strategy, the finesse, the uniforms and equipment. There’s always something that needs to be adjusted, tucked in, fiddled with, or moved around. Back in the day when I played junior high baseball back at good old Bennett Community our uniforms consisted of: blue jeans, white tee shirt, glove, cap & cleats. That was pretty straightforward and simple as everyone had that at home. We didn’t even have to wear protective cups or jockstraps at that time, I don’t know if it’s because the coach didn’t want to field those kinds of inquiries “Hey coach Wilford…I forgot my nut cup! Can I still play?”) or if he didn’t think that we needed that particular part of our male anatomy protected. Regardless, the only guy that had to wear the forbidden nut cup was our catcher, Kenny, who wore it like a badge of honor. Kenny would walk into the dug out (ours still being the old fashioned dug outs made of concrete block sitting partially sunk into the ground in case the Russians dropped a nuke on our small farming town of 300) and would turn away from us and slip the device out of his jeans and then go out to take his at bat. Centerfielder and class giant, Danny “Funnybutt” Honeycutt, would walk over and pick up Kenny’s nut cup, put it up to his face and then do his best “trucker talking on his CB radio” impersonation (breaker breaker one nine, any smokie the bears out there?). It was hilarious and disgusting at the same time, that made the dugout explode in laughter until coach Wilford barked at us from the third base coach’s box “KNOCK IT OFF IN THERE!!” So if I were ever a successful professional baseball player, my memoirs would be entitled “Long balls and nut cups, My tell-all book about what goes on in dugouts”. Look for it on the New York bestsellers list.
The whole junior high/freshman sports experience in small town Bennett, Iowa was something to remember. Our small town was like thousands of other small towns that were proud of their sports teams and tried to furnish them with the nicest uniforms available…for the varsity sports. The underclassmen in junior varsity got the old varsity uniforms from a couplea years earlier, while the freshmen and sophomores got the old varsity uni’s from about ten years earlier, which meant that as a freshman in 1981 I had to wear a basketball uniform from the early 1970’s. A lot can change in ten years, especially along the lines of how short the basketball shorts were in 1971. Honestly speaking, they stopped at crotch level. They were profanely short back in 1980, and wearing them on the court today would probably get you arrested. Our school colors were red and white, so our home uniforms were white, and made of this weird “stiff satin” material that was shiny and puffy that wouldn’t conform to your legs. When you sat down on the bench, which is where I spent the majority of my time on the team, the dang shorts wouldn’t lay down on top of your leg, it stayed up like you were wearing some sort of “hoop skirt”, showing a lot of upper thigh on prepubescent young men. A guy had to be careful how he sat or he might let someone across the gym see something that he didn’t wish to be seen (This is probably when coach Wilford had us start wearing jock straps…but that’s just a guess). A couplea good friends of mine at the time, Michelle and Kim, told me “you know those stupid white satiny shorts that you wear at games? They make you guys look like you’re wearing diapers.” (is it any wonder why these two poor souls had a teenage crush on me and my pasty white upper thighs?) Good info girls, as if a thirteen year old boy isn’t self conscientious enough about his looks and now it looks like he’s wearing diapers in public. I had wondered how I looked in those ridiculous shorts and now I knew. It’s funny now, but that’s how we rolled back in the day…showing a lot of thigh in satin shorts. If I had gone on to become a successful professional basketball player I could’ve written a memoir entitled “Jump shots, game changers & crotch shots…the inside story of short shorts and locker room tales.”
Maybe I’ll write it anyway. I’ll bet that Kim or Michelle has the photos from then….those were some sexy thighs.