More than 50 years ago at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy at McCoy Air Base, Orlando, Fla., the 155 students would have a slow pitch softball game every Wednesday after class during our five weeks there. These students were said to be the top five percent in the Air Force. During the fifth week, the students would play the instructors for the championship.
I played on our fast pitch team at Travis Air Force Base the 13 years I was assigned there.
The first four weeks at McCoy Air Base, I played in left field. The very first game, one player hit the ball that looked like it was a home run. I leaped for the ball at the fence, caught the ball, and hit the left side of my face on the scoreboard. I had a cut above my left eye, but I stayed in the game. One of the instructors took me to the base hospital and they patched me up.
The fifth and last game, the 155 students picked the team to play the instructors for the championship. I had the most votes and would be the pitcher and bat cleanup.
We beat the instructors, scoring a lot of runs. I was voted the MVP and received a trophy, and had a nice write-up in the base newspaper with my photo.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)