When I Was 9: The Baseball Player
by Linda Thieman, author, Katie & Kimble
Hi! My name is Linda Thieman (pronounced TEE-mun). I write the Katie & Kimble stories.
I wanted to share with you my favorite story from when I was 9 years old. This is a true story. It happened to me!
Right after I turned 8, my family moved to Minnesota. Minnesota is a beautiful state in the midwest. It is just south of Canada and just north of Iowa.
You may have heard of the Minnesota Twins baseball team. There are two big cities in Minnesota – Minneapolis and St. Paul. These cities are called the Twin Cities. That’s how the Minnesota Twins got their name.
Well, we moved into a town that was near the Twins’ ballpark. And, to my surprise, we met three Twins. And I mean baseball players! They lived in our neighborhood!
Two pitchers lived nearby. The third baseman lived across the street from us. His name was Rich Rollins. He was an All Star.
Rich was a kind and friendly guy. His family and my family became friends.
Rich lived across the street from us for two years. During that time, he gave us a lot of free baseball tickets. So, my family went to a lot of home games. We sat right behind home plate! Good seats! At the same time, my dad taught me the game.
Well, when I was 9 and in fourth grade, I was also a Junior Girl Scout. My troop was going to have a Father/Daughter Banquet. Every girl would bring a box lunch. Then, she and her father would eat that lunch together with all the other girls and dads.
Well, the day of the dinner was drawing near. I was getting pretty excited. It was a big deal. Then, boom! My hopes were dashed. I found out that my dad couldn’t go with me. He had to work and he was going to be out of town. I was very disappointed.
But then, I got an idea. I decided to ask Rich if he would go with me. I got my courage together, and I knocked on Rich’s door. When Rich came to the door, I invited him to go to the dinner with me. He checked to see if he was free, and then he agreed! I was so thrilled.
I must say, at the dinner the other “fathers” were pretty amazed!
I served Rich a dinner of fried chicken. My mom made the chicken for me. She also packed the dinner. We also had salad and rolls.
To tell you the truth, I think after we ate, Rich was still hungry. He was a big guy. He needed lots of food!
Then, they started some music for dancing. I asked Rich to dance, but he said no. He said he was having trouble with his knees. It’s true, no doubt. But I also thought he was just shy. Also, maybe he didn’t want all those other people to watch him!
But the funniest part of the day was this. Rich and I had turned around in our chairs. We were watching the dancing. Then I saw a man watching us. He was standing near a wall and taking pictures.
I said to Rich, “That man is taking your picture!”
And Rich said to me, “No, he’s taking YOUR picture!”
Rich was a funny guy.
Well, the man with the camera never spoke to us. But a few days later, our picture was in the local paper. Under the picture, it said, “Rich Rollins, 3rd baseman for the Twins, attends the Father/Daughter Banquet with his daughter.”
The newspaper thought I was Rich’s daughter! Now THAT was funny!
I still have that old newspaper photo of Rich and me buried in a box somewhere. If I ever find it, I will post it on the Katie & Kimble blog for you to see!