The whole ball game

Front row, left to right – Brian Buzby, Larry Kerschner, Gene Ruoff, Dan Frick;
Back row – Jerry Johnson, Mike Carr, Mike Parrett, Dick Lyday, Bill Backburn.
Photo taken at Grove City High School Class of 1967 Reunion in October 2022.

Nine of us hang onto the memories. In that fleeting span of years of our youth, it was the whole ballgame. Quite literally, it was the whole ballgame. Growing up in a small Ohio town in the 1950s and ’60s, baseball was everything. Then one day, it abruptly ended. Most of us never played another game of organized baseball after our 18th year. But for the previous 10 years, the game was our all-consuming passion. We were Little League All-Stars, Babe Ruth League All-Stars, high school conference champions… Teammates. Our 15 minutes of fame. Then we were scattered by the winds of life. We do not hold too tightly to nostalgic and maudlin memories; honestly, we moved on to more important accomplishments and achievements. But separately. This was the decade we were all bound together with common purpose, shared values. Although we are now in our 70s, we can remember when baseball was joy and sadness, triumph and defeat, pride and fulfillment, friendship and camaraderie. The game was our singular bond, and 50-plus years later, when the sparks of memories flash, we still treasure it. I am so glad, so very glad, that I shared those days of baseball with you guys.


About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
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8 Responses to The whole ball game

  1. Anonymous says:

    So very true, Jerry. Those were great times and we were lucky to grow up the way we did in our little Midwestern town. I’m glad the nine of you old guys could get together for that photo. Fabulous memories. Hope we can have a 60th class reunion in five years. Janet Seese Shailer

  2. Mike Workman says:

    Beautifully written and so true.

  3. Roger White says:

    And in those 50 plus years memories fade. Blackburn

  4. Ric Strickler says:

    You guys were my role models growing up, even Bill!

    • Ric – Bill was a great role model. Well, he became a great role model.

      • Anonymous says:

        My point, exactly, I always admired his spirit, his energy and his sense of humor. As a first responder, I know he has been a positive influence to many of his friends and associates.

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