When I was 14, I started taking pitching lessons in St. Louis from a girl named Tammy Duffin. Eventually, her college schedule must have taken her away, and then I was her dad's student. His name is Roger Duffin. I know these names won't really mean anything to my readers, but they do mean a lot to me.
Roger's sister, Becky Duffin, was a pitcher for Team USA in 1990. Amazingly, my Aunt Tina played on the same high school team! I have a picture of Becky and my aunt holding a state softball trophy together...I used to keep it in my room in college. Becky's high school jersey used to hang in the Maries County Bank in Vienna. There is a new building now, so I'm not sure if it's still displayed. I remember walking into that bank one day...visiting with my dad since my uncle works there...and I saw that jersey. There it was...number 11. I knew I wanted that number from then on...
I remember picking up our jerseys my freshman year of high school. Upperclassmen always got first choice, of course, but to my surprise, number 11 was still there when I went to pick out one! I was #11 on every team I played on (even competitive softball in St. Louis each summer). As the years went on, "Eleven" pretty much became my name when I pitched. My dad always called me that, even when we were just throwing in the back yard! My teammates called me "Eleven" when I was on the mound. It's just who I was.
I only pitched two years in college. Even though number 11 was already taken by a junior, my dad still called me by my old number! :o) It always made me smile.
On my wedding day, for some odd reason, I thought that playing catch with my dad would make the day eaiser. I wanted him to know that I still loved playing catch and pitching to my favorite catcher! If you could see the picture my mom took after we were done, you'd know that it did not make that day any easier for him! I remember him saying, "Good job, Eleven," as we walked up to the door to take our gloves back inside. I even broke a nail in the process of playing catch, but I didn't care. I knew it was something I'd hold dear as a memory...
When we were getting ready to walk down the aisle, the main doors closed, and it was just the two of us standing there, waiting for the music to change. With his eyes full of tears, and his voice so quiet because of emotion of the day, he said, "Let's go do this, Eleven."
So...Sarah C...that's why I always pick pager 11. I can't help it. The number means a lot.