Badass

I’ve been called a badass a lot in the last few years. And to be clear, I don’t think I’m a badass. I think I’ve been gifted with an immense amount of straight up stubborn. Half of what I achieve, I do because it just needs to be done and I’m looking for the way I can do it by myself as cheaply (but nicely) as possible. Anyway, a thought occurred to me last night as I fell asleep:

When I was seventeen, I asked a guy to our tolo (apparently the PNW term for a Sadie Hawkins dance, thanks for the learn, wiki!). I had a black eye from a bad hop when I asked him but impetuous high school me didn’t let that stop me. My dad found the black eye bit alternately horrifying and really amusing. Fortunately, this guy was a baseball player and he said yes so it didn’t bother him too much. The dance was nice but nothing really came of it.

Over the following summer, we actually reconnected and went on a few dates, we (or at least I) had a lot of fun. I, however, was a massively awkward girl who had never kissed anyone and had no idea how to help him make the leap to so much as holding my hand. We went to homecoming together but it was massively awkward and I didn’t know how to make it better and thus it just ended.

Bellarmine Prep Homecoming, 2003

The moment that I remembered last night was walking into CenturyLink Field (then Quest!) for a WSU football game that my aunt had given me tickets to. Mike was working for a construction company of some kind that summer. A prep school kid driving a late model Civic, this seemed slightly out of character but he jokingly but with a certain level of earnestness told me about the concrete truck driver who was a “badass.”

“That’s what I want to be when I grow up,” he said.

“A concrete truck driver or a badass?” I asked.

“A badass.”

“A badass, okay then.”

Maybe he grew up to be a badass, I don’t know. We never really hung out after that awkward homecoming. Facebook does tell me he grew up to be a stock trader that appears to live in a house and be pretty normal.

Embarrassingly, looking back, I mostly rolled my eyes at that comment. I couldn’t particularly see this guy, that I really quite liked, growing up to be a badass and it didn’t even occur to think about badassery in my own life. I definitely didn’t think to be a badass and kiss him. The word “badass” sounded kind of crass and redneck. At the time, I was planning a life saving the world from the horrors of climate change in academia, not living this life (I don’t even have words for what I’m doing).

I knew I was brash and a little bit obnoxious— another friend’s (shitty) boyfriend in response to something about me said, “Feminists are fat, ugly embittered women who can’t get a man.”A rather critical and religious classmate told me she could spot me flirting “from across the quad” (which is hysterical because… see, I think I scared the high school boys).

My friends would cringe because I was the definition of “too much.” I was loud in public places and ridiculous. I hope they loved me for it. In college, my friends used to say, “Do it, Beth, you won’t” and I’d joke about having a dollar for everytime they said it. Maybe I was just a badass the whole time and just forgot for a few years (six?).

So cheers to you, Mike, I hope you’re a badass. I think I’m owning my title in 2018.

When Parents Are There: My Dad & Baseball

Scrolling through my reader this morning, I clicked on a post titled “Sasha DiGiulian’s Mom on Why You Should Let Your Kids Take Big Risks”to see what sage advice Sasha DiGiulian‘s mom could share with moms like mine that worry about their daughters in the outdoors. (Plus, you all know I’m a sucker for posts about women kicking ass outdoors.) The article was great and Sasha’s mom was really cute. Then I read a quote that made me burst in to tears:

“Then, when you started lead climbing, I took the course so I could lead belay, and honestly, I loved it. I loved spending time with you, and I loved going to the climbing competitions with you.”

It’s early spring. This is the time of year I used to spend hanging out with my dad at the batting cages, going to take ground balls on any dry day, and staying up too late talking about the possibilities for my team (and probably the Seattle Mariners too).

Starting just after Christmas, a few days a week, I’d come home from school and my dad would take me to the batting cages. As my teammates would point out to me, I could drive and he would have given me money so I didn’t have to go with him but I liked to. I loved spending that time with my dad. Sometimes my sister would come, which was mostly great because we could rotate in and out of the cage with each other. It certainly wasn’t rare, though, she didn’t want to come choosing friends or television over some extra practice.

I remember a lot of him providing me feedback on my swing but I also remember riding down the hill from our house in his red pickup just talking.

I’m pretty sure more than once we made people laugh at Rainiers games when I was in high school. He’d almost always sit on my right and when we witnessed a gorgeous swing that resulted in a home run or a double we’d turn to each other—a righty and a lefty—and make our best impressions of that swing, exclaiming about how the contact was just right.

My dad and I: blue circle. Where the 3-run HR landed: Red circle. Dad always regretted not using his long arms to catch it for me. ♥

There were late April games at Cheney stadium that were so cold I wore snowpants and we carried blankets in; often with a beer or two rolled up in them.I remember Game 4 of the 1995 ALDS, standing on the left field bleachers so that 10 year old me could try to talk to my dad over the rock concert roar of the Kingdome as Edgar Martinez, my favorite player, proved to be the hero

Macklemore’s song “My Oh My” makes me cry each and every time from the moment that he sings

Bottom of the 11th inning got the whole town listening,
Swung on and belted the words that started, Joey Cora rounds third
Here comes Griffey the throw to the plate’s not in time
My oh my the Mariners win it

and I picture my dad chanting, “They’re never going to get Griffey, they’re never going to get Griffey.” 1995 is seared in my memory and family lore, it comes up at family holidays and events because we all have shared, intersecting memories because my Aunt Lori bought two seats that we shared and whoever wasn’t at the games would watch them at our house.

Mostly though, the line “And if mom wasn’t trippin’ come on dad please I swear just one more inning,” is what rings true along with the batting cages, ground balls, and thousands of whiffle ball pitches in the back yard.

Today is a gorgeous early spring day in Colorado. The sky is so so blue that it’s almost heartbreaking. It’s cold and there’s some snow on the ground but my time in Maine made me associate that with the start of softball. It won’t be long before baseball season starts here in Western Colorado for my high school students. The Mariners are down in Arizona getting ready for Opening Day. It’s been almost six years since I got to watch a baseball game with my dad and it’s days like today I miss them most of all.