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Editor's Notebook The Girls Of Spring
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It wasn't long ago that I was referred to as a 'real soccer mom,' what with hauling my preteen daughter to weekday practices and weekend games and tournaments with her competitive travel team.

Well, that season gave way to a new one this spring and, for the first time, she is playing my game. Or at least a version of it.

Growing up with an older brother and two slightly younger male cousins in the house just down the road, weekdays after school and nearly every weekend - weather permitting - from March through October was spent playing baseball. Hardball. If I wanted to play, I had to play the game the boys did and they used a baseball, not a softball. So I learned how to play the infield, the outfield, how to take out my cousin sliding into second and got into switch-hitting and all that.

I even tried to break the barrier and get accepted onto a Little League team (a no-no back then; baseball was for boys only) in my hometown. The coach desperately wanted me to play but all the league would allow was for me to warm up the pitchers in between innings and be the bat girl. I had to take what I could get and anything that got me closer to the game I loved was good enough.

So when my daughter told me she wanted to give softball a try, I was elated. Soccer wasn't as much a part of my youth as it has been hers; I played in high school but hadn't played before then. So I know that game too, but it's not as much a part of my internal psyche as America's pastime.

My 12-year-old entered the softball arena with excitement, wanting to learn everything and wanting to know it NOW. I had to tell her to be patient with herself and realize that she's not as knowledgeable or experience as some of those players that have been on the ball diamond for years. She's making great progress and I'm pleased to report she had a double, driving in two runs (the second one tying the game) and then scored the go-ahead run in our latest contest on Saturday, a 6-4 win. She also made a great (OK, it was routine but to me, it was great) play at second and fired a strike to the shortstop covering the bag to cut down the lead runner.

She was picked for a team that her friend's dad was coaching. But then the family moved. Just a couple of weeks into the practices. So that left the assistant coach suddenly the head coach with no assistants.

Deciding that his need for help was greater than her need not to potentially be embarrassed by her mother, I told my daughter's coach that I would help any way I could.