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Red Shoes Diaries

Thanks Zalman King. The world appreciated your contributions to soft core porn. It's not the Spartacus series on Starz, but solid work.

I've been wearing red shoes for quite a while now. Why? They make me fast. Well, that's how the story begins. I kid you not. Back in the early nineties my exwife and I were softball junkies. We played in multiple leagues and tons of weekend tournaments. I had gotten hooked up with a team about a half hour south of Bellingham in Mount Vernon. It was a Saturday morning tournament game and I jumped in my car heading south. Just before arrival I somehow realize I had forgotten my softball bag. F.

I got off the Interstate and turn towards Skagit Community College on College Way. Lo and behold, Play It Again Sports. They sold second hand sports equipment. I run in the store and ask about shoes. They have one pair that fits. I buy them. They're red. Not traditional cleats, but turf shoes. Most comfortable pair I ever owned. Ive purchased similar ones ever since.

I showed up at the game and we were up to bat first. I hit second in the order. Lead off batter gets a hit. I walk to the batters box and the pitcher looks at me and stops. He turns around and walks towards second base. At the top of his lungs he yells, "THIS GUY HAS RED SHOES! THAT MEANS HE'S FAST! GET IT IN QUICK!" I kid you not. I step out of the box and look back to my dugout and everyone is rolling. I'm thinking, hey, I'm plenty fast?!? Right?!? Over the course of that season our pitcher on that team would belt out the lines every time I stepped to the plate. Red Shoes! He's fast! Get it in quick! Giant man with blonde hair and a mustache. I think it was Todd, but this was thirty years ago. I'll bet Steve might remember this guy. He was a big dude that just slapped base hits all the time. Perhaps not because he was based in Mount Vernon, not Bellingham. I remember his wife Becky was a phenomenal athlete too. I think they worked out at one of the refineries.

For years to come it became my thing. I've been wearing red softball and golf shoes ever since. I could never find a pair of red basketball shoes I liked enough, but I've wore red tennis shoes all the time ever since that summer. I'm headed to the driving range tomorrow and im going to have a hard time not buying a pair of red golf shoes they have on the shelf there. Another splurge before I head out to Singapore? Hmm.

I played softball for a lot of years. My favorite teams were The Shooters and The Shaggers. Our coed team was tough because we had women that could play. We won some tournaments here and there. Beating a fully uniformed and equipped team down in Lacey in a title game one summer was a highlight. Will never forget they were "The Rage". So many individual memories, but there are some that stand out.

Standing in the right center field next to Steve in the outfield. Runners on base and Steve Slesk up to bat. They were out of home runs. All he has to do is put it in play and they win. He hits it over the fence for their final out. We walk off with a win because his ego couldn't keep it in the park. I fondly remember winning another game with Steve when we hit back to back lazy sacrifice flys to win a tournament game.

Nancy reminds me now and then of a walkoff home run I hit in a tournament. She was on deck and was nervous about being put under all the pressure of winning a game. I didn't have many of those moments, but that one sticks with me. That might have been the same year Lisa stuck me with the nickname floater. The ball fields in Everson were next to a treatment plant. I hit one so far out of play on the right side that it might have ended up in the stuff. Floater.

We ran into a lot of characters on the softball field. My of my favorite opponents was a guy named Brad Reinke. Just a really good positive guy. I had his daughter Dani in class for a few years. Brad and his wife Roz were in the parking lot at the end of a league night and there was someone from another team looking for players. Brad immediately pops up and says "I'll play!" Brad runs off and Roz turns to me and says, "Softball slut". I often refer to myself as golf slut now. I have Roz to thank for that.

By far my favorite times were after coed games heading to El Rinconcito for Cadilac Margaritas and dinner. It was the gang. We were a family, a family of choice. Those were great times, but times change. I've moved onto new adventures and other fun groups. I've sure been missing golf with the Steve. We still share our scores and stories via messages, but it's not the same. This coming summer will be fun when we get to cheer for each other again. I've also been missing my weekly cribbage game. Racing on the TV, steak on the smoker, and Mike in the stink hole again. Good times. It's worth noting that Mike is a world class cribbage player. I wouldn't have believed such a thing could exist, but he's shown me the truth of it. While I've been gone Kathy has stepped into replace me. Thanks Kath. :)

Update on red golf shoes. They were pretty. :Love:, but not $500 USD pretty... I did a search on TaoBao using the images here and found them as low as $300. Ugh.

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Mike Durkee
Mike Durkee
Jan 11, 2023

Between the holidays and sickness we haven't gotten together for cribbage in a month... as long as I don't play you in chess my ego will be intact... that being said there are only three folks in the universe that have double-skunked me--you, Shane, and my lovely wife! Yes, my ego is a fragile thing... but being left in the stinkhole is just offensive. I've heard the 'red shoes' story before but it always brings a smile to my soul.

The only softball story I have is hitting a line drive back to Steve (when he was trying to teach me how to swing prior to the student/senior game several years back) and the ensuing huge knot on his lower…


So many good memories from those softball days. The Rage win was special. I remember Harlan hitting an HR against them and they were aghast that such an old dude could do that. If I remember correctly they even had their names on the back if their unis. Over and again with Shooters & Shaggers we were the misfit team with little ego, a positive attitude, and the ability to single and double you to death. Add great D and the results were lots of wins.

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