Softball, Guitars and Singing -was Deerfield’s main means of entertainment in the old days
Watching our 30- and 40-year-old fathers play softball was one of the main summer entertainment activities for several years in Deerfield, Pompano and other South Florida communities. Most teams were sponsored by Service Clubs, like the Lions Club.
But some teams were sponsored by businesses. Like the Boca Raton Hotel team, who paid their players. However, the Clearwater Bombers were considered the best professional team and won the World Championship for several years in a row. My parents knew the Bomber’s main pitcher, Herb Dudley, because my mother’s brother had been his catcher on the U.S. Navy team.
One Saturday, he and his wife came by to visit us. Herb was urging my father to apply to get on the Softball Commission, which had something to do with setting the rules for the game. My Dad agreed to apply, was accepted and, eventually, became the Commissioner of Softball for South Florida, a position he held for several years.
After their meeting, Herb noticed my guitar in the corner and asked who played. Dad, who also played, differed to me, saying his fingers were out of shape. Always ready to play, I picked up the Gibson and proceeded to run out a few chords. Herb and his wife had great voices and we all quickly joined in to sing about an hour or two of country, gospel and folk music. It was great fun and he and his wife gave me a lot of encouragement.
Herb, who was also a lay minister of the gospel, went on to share with me that my namesake, King David, was also a guitar player. I replied that I thought he only played a harp. He said that according to some of the Bible translations, David is described as playing “string instruments” which would include the harp and the lyre, a musical instrument very similar to a guitar. He went on to share that later on, during the time of Soloman, David’s son, there were choirs in Israel having up to 4,000 singers (I Chr.23:5) accompanied by hundreds of harps, lyres and cymbals.(I Chr. 25:6-7)
I was greatly inspired by Herb’s encouragement … so much that it is still a rare day when I don’t pick up a guitar at home, at the office, on a cruise ship and “run out a few chords”.