Searching on the internet for some old friends from high school led me to think about this topic.
The best athlete I ever played with has to be Kristin King. She was so good, that she preferred to play with the boys. I was amazed, but not shocked to see that she became an Olympic medalist in ice hockey.
I used to have a knuckle curveball that was nasty. I threw it side-arm using my thumb, index finger and middle finger. The pitch would appear to come in high to the batter and then drop almost straight down as it neared the plate. My friends called it "The Dominator" because it was nearly impossible to hit.
K.K. (as her friends and teammates used to call her) came to the plate to face me. After she fouled off a few fastballs, I decided to try and get her out with the Dominator. She swung with one hand and drove it out for a homerun.
The next time she came to the plate, I decided that I was going to start her off with the Dominator, because nobody hit that pitch. Well, she did, and she hit it for her second homerun of the game.
After that, I was moved behind the plate to play catcher, and when she came up to bat the third time, I called for a fastball low and inside. The pitch was right where I wanted it, and apparently right where she wanted it too, because she just hit her third homerun of the game. Unbelievable. Everyone was stunned speechless. After that, my friends started calling the "Dominator" the "Masturbator".
One Sunday afternoon, a group of friends got together to play a pick-up football game at the park. Kristin was there. By this time, I had started to call her "Sparky" because of her size and power. We had a guy on our team, "Big" Dave Turner, who stood 6'7" weighed 340 pounds and had a size 16 shoe. We'd use him as a running back and a receiver, because nobody could ever bring him down once he got going. I think you can see where this story is heading. Dave went out for a pass, and started to barrel down the field after he caught it. It looked like nobody was going to catch him. Then, out of nowhere, Kristin King lunged and got her arms wrapped around his neck, taking him to the ground at the two yard line and stripping the ball in the process. She then proceeded to pick up the ball and run all the way back down the field for a touchdown. Unbelievable.
Her family used to tell the story about when she was playing hockey in an all boys league when she was younger. She was playing goalie in this particular game, and got upset when one of the players on the opposing team was getting away with what she thought was too rough of moves against her teammates. She threw off her gloves and skated out of the net and beat the crap out of that kid. His father ripped him up oneside and down the other after that game.
I knew that she had gotten a hockey scholarship to Dartmouth, and it's really cool to see that she was a part of the women's Olympic hockey team that won the bronze at the 2006 Winter Olympics. At least now whenever I get ribbed by an old friend about giving up two homeruns with the "Masturbator" at least I can say now that I gave them up to an Olympic champion.
Here is her Olympic profile, and a photo of the girl who is easily the greatest athlete I've ever played with or against.
Who is the best athlete you ever played with?