Rhonda Weiche relocated to St. Louis a couple of years ago. She brings to our city true Southern values and a spirit of can do. Her articles will compare and contrast her life back in Oklahoma and Arkansas with her new home today.
I grew up in a household where testosterone ruled and the only other female influence was my mother. Back then, I longed for someone to see things from my perspective, someone besides my mother, someone closer to my own age—someone female.
Living in the Oklahoma countryside, there was nobody around except for my three brothers and their friends – all boys.
My brothers played sports and my dad coached summer league baseball. And when they weren’t playing or coaching we were watching every sport on TV known to man. I was outnumbered 4 to 1.
I realized early on I had to play some sport, any sport, just so I could fit in. I began with softball one summer when I was about nine years old. When I told my dad I wanted to play he didn’t know what to say. I hoped he would be proud of me like he was with the boys. I am sure he could almost predict the future, which may have been why he was reluctant to say yes when I asked him if I could play. Regardless, he agreed to let me go out for the team.
My softball career ended short that summer when I took a pitch to the mouth. The coach wanted to try me as the catcher and sent a ball across home plate and into my face. Needless to say, I finished the season fearful of the ball and didn’t play again until I was an adult. I played Right Field on a co-ed team.
When school started back that fall, I went out for the basketball team and made it. I played basketball from that time all the way through my senior year in high school. At only five feet tall, I was small, but fast and rather good at the game.
In small town Oklahoma, Football ruled just like in the movie Friday Night Lights. Athletic funding was tight in the small school where I grew up, so the sports that were offered were limited, unbeknownst to me, so was my knowledge of certain sports.
I have been a sports fan since I was a young child and I thought I knew about every sport ever invented – not so. When I moved to St. Louis two years ago, I was introduced to the game of Field Hockey. I had never heard of field hockey or seen a game before, but I quickly became a fan. I love watching ice hockey and roller hockey, so it was an easy transition when I was called upon to cover Field Hockey for Patch. The fast pace of the game is exciting and the competitive spirit of the girls gives the soul a lift.
When I watch girls like Ladue Senior, Alena Gresick, who plays with her entire heart, do a spin dodge or a pull right and go in for the shot that ends in a score, I know they have to feel good about themselves, their team and the sport of field hockey. They love the game; it shows all over their faces. But, they aren’t just playing a game; they are building character and confidence within themselves.
I know if field hockey had been offered in my small hometown in Oklahoma, I would have been a star player and I know that I too would have loved playing the game.