I was never very good at sports. I didn’t pick up any girls because of my athletic prowess, I didn’t grace the local weekly newspaper’s sports headlines, nor did I make the rosters of the all-star or traveling teams. But I did have a lot of fun playing sports. Baseball, in particular. And a lot of that fun was experienced on a little dirt patch where I grew up in Bostwick, Georgia. For those of you not familiar with this quiet place, it’s a small, small, town between Madison and Monroe on Georgia’s scenic Highway 83. Population, 366.
If you drive through Bostwick on 83, you can hardly miss the baseball field. Its sits right next to the highway, nestled between a small cemetery and two historic churches. Attending one of those churches is where I became acquainted with this ball field. On Wednesday evenings at Gibbs Memorial Baptist Church, classes for boys and girls were separated. The boys attended what was called Royal Ambassadors, or RAs, while the girls went to Girls in Action, or GAs. And most Wednesdays, as soon as these classes were over, us boys would tear across the church parking lot to that field so we could get in every possible minute of baseball before the sun went down. We played other sports too, like basketball, but nothing measured up to the excitement, the grittiness, the glory of baseball.
The inspiration for this blog post came as I was visiting my mother’s house a few weeks back, and it was mentioned at the dinner table there was a rumor that the ball field might be razed in order to make way for a city park. I immediately thought of what that field means to me, and I’m sure it means a lot to a lot of people. The field has easily been there 80 years, perhaps 100. Mr. Troy Dobbs, who is 86 and grew up in Bostwick, said he can’t remember a time when it wasn’t there.
If the rumors are true, and the ball field as we know it, with its seasoned wood benches, aged fences, and the reddest dirt in Georgia, is bulldozed, then a lot of kids will miss having memories like I have of that place. But then again, good things don’t last forever. All I can say that I hope it’s there another 100 years.