Jeez, the Mainstream Media. No wonder they’re in trouble. Between all the blather about Michael Vick, steroid usage and Michael Phelps’ bong hits, the Boston Herald only managed to miss the Sports Story of the Year, maybe even the Feel Good Sports Story of the Last Half Decade. Yes, I’m talking about the Goody Glovers rocketing to first place in the division after three years of never winning a game, then losing in a heartbreaker sweep in the playoffs.
You say you’ve never heard of the Goody Glovers? Where have you been? These gals are the Bad News Bear-ettes of Boston. A lovable band of party-hearty rogues who turned the league on its head over in Beantown. Yes, I know Boston is a bit out of the usual sports coverage range of Left Coast Cowboys. But if I could post my take on the Olympics in Beijing, Boston is comparatively right next door.
Besides, the story heavily features my old pal MoMo who has appeared periodically in this blog, most notably in the story where she put the capper on my dying Dad’s pact with God over the Red Sox. (Read it here and weep. I mean you’ll really weep, but you’ll end up loving MoMo.)
MoMo is also the kind of gal who doesn’t waste time wondering “wouldn’t it be interesting if…” She just does it. So the day she woke up and decided playing on a softball team was on her Bucket List, that’s the day she went down and signed up.
It wasn’t an auspicious beginning. The team she chose to join? One sponsored by the only Irish Pub in the heavily Italian North End. Already we’re talking underdogs. Add to that the fact that the Pub and the team were named after the last person hanged as a witch in Boston.
There were other moments of doubt. The Goody Glovers had, in past years, been what Bostonians call certified “loosahs”. Three years in the league. Not a single game won. I don’t think they even came close. MoMo thought it would be an easy, low pressure way to cross that softball entry off the List.
Then she shows up to the orientation meeting and finds out it’s a whole new cast of characters going out for the team. They are all, well, let’s say “more than a decade” younger than she is. And they are ready to party as hard as Mo did, but back in her Boston College days…er…several years ago. Yeah, they’re young, they’re rowdy, they’re in it to win it. Mo thought for one dreadful moment that she was in over her head.
Next uncomfortable moment. They repair to Goody Glovers and their sponsor’s staff has never heard of them. Undeterred, they ordered their drinks. The waitress comes out loaded down with steins of beers, then says, “And who ordered this [sneer] Chardonnay?” That would be MoMo.
None the less, she sticks it out and becomes not even the most colorful character of the bunch. A team, I might add, that in true Bad News Bears tradition, even includes an English girl who hasn’t a clue about baseball. While she plays some form of cricket or rounders, the rest coach her in the finer points of the game. The gals give it their all, helped out by liberal references to their role models, the women in the movie A League of Their Own. It seems to work. They win. And win. And win some more. Next thing you know, they’re first place in the division.
Then it all crumbles. Helen, the English girl, misses enough games that, by the rules, she has to sit out the playoffs. She cheers from the bench with a six pack of beers. It’s not enough. Our crew of plucky heroines gets swept in the playoffs. (Hey, any coincidence that Brit off the team equals defeat? I’m just saying.) It’s a heartbreaker. And as their erstwhile coach (who is NOT Walter Matthau) says: they’re a better team than that.
But, hey they’re all from Boston now, a town that’s had more than 80 years to experience late season heartbreak and practice “wait until next year” faith in the face of defeat. I hope Mo joins up again, even though she can cross this off her Bucket List. But maybe such magic never happens twice.
In any case, join me in a big Bah-stahn style cheer for the Goody Glovers. They are:
Lenore: The singing catcher who turned the big Three-O during the season.
Haley: Also a catcher. The most improved player of the season. And she was good to start with.
Brook: AKA Brooklyn. Played second base with real Bah-ston cred as a kid from Southie.
Ann: The pitcher. AKA Annie-Bin-Annie or “All the Way May”. Very lady-like until she slammed you with one of her low and lighting-fast pitches.
Lorelle: Outfielder par excellence.
Stephanie: Called the plays and never got it wrong.
Karyn: Right outfield, pitcher and home run queen.
Katie: In Mo’s words, “a fricken riot” and the most vocal booster of team spirit.
Hang: Left outfield. A tiny little thing who could whack the ball a mile. Her speed around the bases got her the nickname Lightning.
Lindsey: AKA Dr. Hotpants. Played first base and relied on her secret weapons: three sports bras.
Helen: Catcher. Brit. Need I say more.
Leah: A great player never without her baseball cap or the boyfriend who studied for the bar as he did double duty as cheering section.
Rhi: Nicknamed Captain Chardonnay after Mo convinced her to put down the beers and head to the vineyard.
Allison: Rightfield. Dedicated. Never missed a game. The Cal Ripkin of the Glovers.
And, of course, MoMo who says she’s just happy to have survived the season still standing.
Well done Gals! You are our new sports heroines.
NOTE: Let’s not forget the coaches and main boosters! Bryan and Jeff, big time former college sports stars, who brought the Goody Glovers to the Finals. And Mo’s husband, Billy, who sat in the bleachers with his laptop telling the girls he was emailing ESPN and WEEI Sports every time they made a good play.
NOTE: For those who are wondering, that is indeed The World’s Most Beautiful Baby wearing a Boston Red Sox cap that MoMo bought for her. Amelia May wants to be a Goody Glover when she’s 21. But only if MoMo’s playing.