The Boys and Girls of Summer
‘m wild about summer. Baseball–watching the Yankees in particular–catching up
with the stack of bedside books and reading The New Yorker at the pool. Can life get any better? I also get to watch my sixteen- year- old daughter play summer league basketball which seems sweeter after reading Karra Porter’s terrific book Mad Seasons: The Story of the First Women’s Professional Basketball League, 1978-1981.
It wasn’t until my senior year in high school that sports were offered for women and Porter’s book is a good reminder of how fast and far women’s basketball has come in a few short decades.
Still baseball reigns supreme in summer and the Press has great baseball books both old and new.
The Celebrant a fictional story about Christy Mathewson is at the top of my list and the forthcoming Miracle Collapse is a wonderful new edition to our list.
I do read sports books by other publishers and recommend Leigh Montville’s The Big Bam:The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. (Doubleday).
I grew up listening to baseball broadcasts with my dad. We would sit on
the front porch swing on hot, humid evenings amidst the sounds–the
announcer, the cicadas, the ice cream truck–the sights–insects
swarming up against the streetlight and cars slowing for the corner
stop sign–and the smells–Off insect repellant and my dad’s Winston cigarettes.
As I learned to share my father’s love of baseball on a porch in
Seward, Nebraska at age ten, I felt connected to cities and players
thousands of miles away. Although my dad is gone, my memories and
affinity for baseball lingers. I still prop his 8 x 10 photograph on
the end table so "grandpa" can watch the Yankees with my daughters and
me. And I still cheer for the Yankees despite being derided by friends
A few years ago my youngest daughter came home from school and
announced that the subject of her biography assignment was Derek
Jeter. I was giddy. We went to the library and found four or five
books on Mr. Jeter and I embarrassingly have to admit that she had to
tug them away as I quickly became engrossed in the books. I wonder what
things she will remember from games we have watched and discussions we
have had about players and what team will take the series. Today,
baseball is full of controversy and commercialism, but it still manages
to sprinkle fairy dust on summer evenings making them forever magical.