By Nick Nunn
Although it passed by unnoticed by many of Morgan County’s citizens, the Morgan County Recreation Department (MCRD) worked hard this year to be able to host two events: the Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA) Sixth District A/B/C Class swim meet, which was hosted at the Morgan County Aquatic Center on July 6, and the Class C Junior Girls Fastpitch Softball State Tournament, which was hosted at Heritage Park on July 10-13.
Not only did it require a concerted effort on the part of the members of the MCRD to get those events here in Morgan County, it also took a lot of work to make sure that they went off without a hitch.
You know that the Morgan County Junior Girls Softball Team, who were crowned champions of the state tournament that they were able to host themselves, only relished the experience all the more because of the undoubtedly increased amount of support in the stands due to the proximity of the tournament.
The truth is, a lot of what the MCRD does goes under the radar or remains less appreciated than it should be. Countless young Morgan County athletes got their first taste of competition thanks to the MCRD, just as many aging athletes have been able to enjoy the sports they love because of the adults’ programs that the recreation department is able to host.
No one who really knows me could describe me as an athlete in any sense, but I can trace several fond memories, both recent and way back, to the MCRD’s influence.
One particular set will probably serve to illustrate my point.
Around the last time I was on an organized sports team, I was still a blonde little kid, missing some teeth and absolutely uncoordinated.
(Only one of those descriptions persist. I’ll let you guess which one.)
Anyway, I was on a MCRD little-league team, and I bore the number “8” on my back.
The reason I remember that is because the number had been ironed onto the back of the yellow shirt that served as a jersey, and, every time the sun came out, it got really hot and adhered to my skin. Not fun.
The last year I played was the first year I was old enough to play on a team with a pitching machine, and the coach was freed up to spread the kids all over the field to man all of the other positions, including the catcher position.
I don’t know why, but I got it into my head that I was the ideal candidate for the catcher position and was offended by the coach, who proceeded to try every other kid on the team out for the position.
The last game of the season neared, and I feared that I wouldn’t even get a chance to begin my All-Star career as a major-league catcher, just because my coach had overlooked my obvious, natural talent.
Much to my delight, the coach decided to grant me my big break during the last game of the season.
Excited beyond belief, I geared up, took my place behind home plate and prepared myself for my first taste of greatness.
The batter for the opposing team made his way to the batter’s box, prepared for the first pitch and connected with the ball, sending it out of the infield.
I didn’t even get to process the thrill of the first time, though. The batter turned to first, picked up his feet… and kicked a good portion of dirt into my mouth and eyes.
Blinded and madder than I had ever been up to that point in my life, I decided at that point to hang up the catcher’s mask and pads and pursue another career: Astronaut.