A League of Their Own

A League of Their Own
There she was, Monica Anne Leskonoski, walking my way. She was smiling as always, her white teeth twinkling in the dim lit hallway. Her eyes sparkled like LED lights in the dark, but neither white teeth technology nor those lights would be invented yet for thirty years or so. That didn't matter to me at all. As she gleamed in her own glitter, I knew she was years ahead of her time and so far out of my league. I was elated just to be walking toward this vision of splendor.

In total silence, with a rapid heartbeat and exploding anxiety, I waited all morning for this glimpse. I felt fortunate that I spotted her further down the hall than usual. Maybe today will be the day? Might she have time to say hello, perhaps send that smile my way?

I only had a few seconds and only a few feet of distance for this chance encounter to take place.

With every male student's eyes on her, and those more privileged actually speaking to her, I locked on to that beauty like radar in one of today's Air Force stealth fighters. She was only a year older than I, but light years ahead of me in our school social culture. She was also tanned, displayed darling dimples, had a great set of legs, and she perpetuated a unique sway to her walk.

As this gorgeous, stunning, in-another-league creation of God strolled on to her next class, I thought, hoped, prayed, "Is there a chance she might make her first-ever eye contact with me?" Will it be today? God, let it be today. Will it be right now? Will she finally notice that I'm alive? Could today be the day when she even looks in my direction? Does she have any idea what she's doing to this shy, introverted teen?

As ESPN's Chris Berman might say years later, "Nnnno." Not that day, not the next day, not ever.

This is pretty much the scenario in which I took part, morning after morning, day after day while in junior high school. That same setting and situation would be repeated again throughout the school year. The objects of my affection would periodically change, but the routine was consistent. I had my schedule and those of the goddesses memorized. But, the outcome was always the same. At that time, I thought this torment and anguish can be only happening to me. No one else could possibly be tortured like this.

The seventh grade brought many changes that year. Prior to that (in my elementary years), like most males, I was too busy squealing my tires, shifting gears, and locking the brakes on my imaginary sports car while walking the halls. The times - they were a changing. Not only did I notice girls for the first time, but I also discovered that some of them had curves, and those curves were much more appealing than those I had been negotiating while driving my fantasy race car.

Still I was caught, half in my old comfort zone where Bill Barkhymer and I would collect garter snakes after school and half in this new realm, where I felt like a little league bat boy competing in a field of major leaguers.

Much later in life I realized that most males during this awkward adolescent age share the same connection of isolation and despair. For me, it was Monica Anne Leskonoski who preoccupied my thoughts. In The Wonder Years, it was Winnie Cooper* who drove Kevin Arnold and his cohort wild. The entire gang in The Sandlot regarded Wendy Peffercorn* as belonging in another league.

Perhaps it is God's plan to maintain a safe distance between the earlier maturing girls and the immature boys of similar age. If so, I am still puzzled as to why we were teased and tortured so muchand at such a self-conscious time of our lives to boot! We were left wondering if our Glory Days* would ever come.

Fortunately, the playing field did level out and even we slow-maturing males realized that our Field of Dreams many times, was just that - inaccessible only in our dreams. We discovered that many of those young ladies who we thought were In A League Of Their Own never considered themselves to be so elite.We've learned, albeit late, that they, too, felt the same inadequacies and introverted tendencies as their male counterparts.

Now, in the later innings of life, we understand that the sport was a huge learning experience and that we are all better off for having played in the game*. The fact that we developed a good eye and kept swinging was more significant than our league membership or status*.


*Winnie Cooper - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po5-0MQBFb0

*Glory Days - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vQpW9XRiyM & feature=artist

*John Fogerty - Center Field  - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04KQydlJ-qc & feature=fvw

*Kenny Rogers - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K3DI07Ibb4 & feature=related

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927
From Left: Son, Steve - Dad, Frank - Mom, Anastasia (Makar) - Sons; John, Mike, Frank, Chuck (Author's Dad) - Twins, Pete & Mary - Daughter, Catherine. Photo taken in Wilmore, PA