Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Erin Marie Glasco

A woman giving me physical therapy at the hospital last July bubbled over about how much their family loved my granddaughter Erin and how much fun Erin was with all the other players on their long-ago summer team. Naturally I could not have agreed more.

This past weekend was spent celebrating our Erin. Johnston City High School was retiring her No 12 softball shirt at the Homecoming football game.   I stocked up on Zero cola in her honor, and I couldn’t resist buying Neapolitan ice cream in memory of her childhood.  (She liked to slice through the brick-shaped three flavors and called this an ice cream sandwich.  Being the leader that she always was, soon the younger grandkids followed her example.)

We started going to her summer softball games at the Marion park when she was probably five.  I think that was a coed team where no one was supposed to keep score.  We also sat through cold Saturday mornings watching her play soccer. I believe she was the only one of Gerry’s three daughters who lived at the right time and place to participate in soccer. 

I was reminded the other day while reading an old email I’d written that my daughter-in-law Vickie was prepared to fix hot dogs for 50 or 60 kids for Erin’s September birthday party.  She had just found out that little Erin who had asked for a wiener roast for her party had made and passed out flyers at school. Vickie had no idea to whom or to how many. 

And there was the time in Harrisburg when we were there for a family birthday celebration for her older sister Tara.  But we found out that Erin (probably in the third or fourth grade) was supposed to go that same night to a boy-girl party—not just an ordinary  party to which both boys and girls were invited—but a “boy-girl party”!  Not exactly what her parents were thrilled about—and perhaps not even what the hostess mother had realized was going on.  I love the memory because Erin was escorted there and picked up afterwards by both her grandfathers—Gpa Gerald and her late Gpa Ernest.  Those stalwart men figured they could send a message to the party boys that she had protectors.

Before we knew it, she was in junior high and still playing softball, of course, since starting with Tara this was their summer family recreation with Gerry and Vickie serving as volunteer coaches and pitching in at the concession stand.  Perhaps I should say it was a family obsession since with three girls in the sport, countless hours were spent practicing and playing.  There were piano lessons and gymnastics and dance and fishing and cousins and lots of other activities too, but softball was most important to all three daughters.  Little Geri Ann went from going to softball games to play in the sand pile with her friends to playing on a team just like her big sisters. 

I loved the quick summary her dad put on Facebook, and I am going to steal it without his permission since I don’t have time to ask him:

So proud of Erin as she was an outstanding catcher on so many good teams that I was able to coach and be a part of with her! A state champion junior high school team, a high school team that was 34-1 her senior year I think, a Canadian Cup Championship in 2003, an ASA Gold National Championship in 2004 are among the wins we shared together along with many other outstanding players in our dugout! So as a coach I was blessed to have her.
As a father it was a great thrill to watch her get to catch the great Megan Gibson in the Big 12 Championship and then in the NCAA regionals, super regionals and the College World Series in 2008 with the Texas A and M Softball team. So blessed.
My favorite fact about Erin is that when the Aggies Softball team made it to the title game of the College World Series in 2008 she caught 60 something games and never made a single error the whole season!
That is my proud dad rant and I apologize, but want to be sure Erin knows that I am proud and blessed to have had her as a daughter and player!” 
Gerry dosen’t mention her professional play with USSSA Pride until an injury stopped her.  And my favorite part of her career as a player was the summer in Europe when she was able to travel widely and blog about it.  Since then she has remained active in the sport as a coach in college,  junior,and senior high schools while also giving private lessons to many young girls. One of her childhood ambitions was to teach, and that came true last year.  She pleased me by talking  about how much she loved her junior high kids and teaching them math. You can also imagine how pleased this grandmother was to learn that at her new school she is teaching English to sixth graders, and she also loves this subject and this age group. Now she can use her writing talent.  (Her coaching this year—volleyball and softball-- is at the high school as an assistant.)
To arrive here from Texas for this weekend’s activities, Gerry and Vickie and Erin left College Station as soon as their work day ended Thursday and drove all night.  They arrived at Woodsong early Friday morning.  And soon they were off for appointments and being with Vickie’s mother, who has progressed to being allowed to walk with that broken right leg in a cast. Friday evening was the Homecoming parade, and I had to be satisfied with just seeing Erin in the photos since I needed to be at Katherine’s that evening.  I heard the man near me in the football stands the next day saying how good the parade was. I liked it that some of the floats were still there to see at the sports complex. I am not a football fan and I no longer know Johnston City kids and the blazing sun made everyone miserably hot. (I got my first summer sunburn even though it was autumn.)  Nevertheless, it was a great time, and Johnston City won their Homecoming game over Chester. I enjoyed seeing long-ago friends and watching my beautiful granddaughter being honored for all her hard work, dedication, insults and injuries that allowed her to achieve success in the softball world. 
The celebration for Erin ended Saturday night with Vickie hosting a family party at Mike Mills’ famous 17th Street Barbecue. It brought back memories of all the birthday parties we enjoyed  with the Johnsons when Gerry and Vickie still lived here. Candace Carter’s one-year-old twins were one of the evening’s hits especially when they enjoyed the cupcakes.  

It was an over-busy weekend with one of Katherine’s aides with her husband at a Saint Louis hospital and Sam busy with the Marion football game, a fifth-quarter party,  and then an all-day band competition at Collinsivllle on Saturday arriving home just in time for Erin’s party.   Mary Ellen was tied up with Parents Weekend for Brianna at Murray State and Brian was tied up with harvesting soybeans. (I did not know their schedule, but I am sure the Eilers were busy up in Freeport too.)  Nevertheless, Gerald, Gerry, and cousin Bryce were able to have Saturday breakfast with the Glasco brothers and cousins at Jonesboro. Erin was able to spend a couple of nights at her cousin Sarah’s house, and Vickie fished in the lake more than once!  It was sad to see them pull away from Woodsong on Sunday morning for the long trip back to Texas

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