FURY:A Rio Games RomanceBy: Alison Ryan
Logan Lowery was Chuck Lowery’s daughter.
That’s how she’d always identified herself since she could remember. It’s what happened when you were the only child of the small town hero.
“How’s your daddy doin’?” the cashier at Hobby Lobby would ask her. “Does he think he can get you girls to state?”
Logan would shake her head and put on her best smile. “He aims to, ma’am. He sure does aim to.”
“Do you have a minute, Denny?” Chuck Lowery was a bundle of nerves.
“Sure, coach, come on in.” Denny Jamieson, athletic director at Montgomery High School, welcomed Chuck Lowery, the school’s baseball coach, into his office.
“What can I do for you, Chuck?”
“I’ve been doing some thinking. What would you say to me switching from coaching baseball to softball?” There was a long pause after that sentence. Denny was waiting for the punchline.
“Are you serious?” he asked Chuck as he leaned back in the chair behind his desk.
“I am. You could promote Coach Jessup right into my spot. He’s great with pitchers and I think he’s ready to handle the program. Hell, we have six starters coming back and three of our best four pitchers. He could have a real shot at state,” Chuck explained. He’d been practicing this conversation on his own for two days.
“That’s exactly why I can’t figure you wanting to step down. I mean Mary works hard, but the softball team hasn’t had a winning record in years. You made it all the way to the regionals with almost all underclassmen. We’ll start the season ranked in the top ten in the state. What’s gotten into you?”
Chuck sighed. It was time for the pitch. “If I’m going to make the switch, I want to leave the next man up something to work with. That’s only right,” Chuck explained. “And I want to coach Logan. You remember how hard she was on her momma. We aren’t going to have any more kids. Logan’s it and I want to give her everything I’ve got.”
Denny recalled Chuck’s wife, Tracy. She’d had difficulties during the birth of their daughter, Logan. He knew how important family was to his old friend. He nodded in agreement as Coach Lowery spoke.
“But why now? Why not win a state title with these boys you’ve got, let Logan grow up a little bit, and see if she even wants to play softball? Or any sport for that matter?”
Chuck Lowery grinned. “She’s my daughter, Denny. With the genes she’s got, what do you think she’ll want to do?”
Montgomery High School’s athletic department was salivating for any and all children produced by the union of Chuck and Tracy Lowery. Chuck had won thirteen varsity letters as a Montgomery High School Tiger. He’d started three years in football and basketball and all four years as a power-hitting third baseman for the Tigers’ baseball team.
Meanwhile, his high school sweetheart, Tracy Thompkins, was earning a pile of varsity letters of her own, playing four years of varsity volleyball and basketball. A state championship eluded them both, but college scholarship offers did not. Tracy stayed local and played college basketball at Wright State, while Chuck accepted a baseball scholarship to Clemson University.
After three seasons at Clemson, the Detroit Tigers drafted Chuck Lowery, and his inevitable ascent to Major League baseball commenced. Following two seasons in the minors, he reached the big leagues the same year he asked Tracy to marry him.
Life, as it’s wont to do, turned the tables on the Lowerys when they least expected it.
Trying to score from first base on a hit into the gap in right field, Chuck rounded third base and immediately pulled up. Stepping on the bag at third, he’d felt a pop in his right knee, followed by an explosion of pain.
Reconstructive surgery and long, painful physical therapy, with Tracy at his side, followed. By the end of the season, he felt ready to play, but the Tigers thought it best he wait until spring training the following year. In the off-season, Chuck and Tracy had their dream wedding in Hawaii, and by the time he reported to Lakeland, Florida for spring training, she was expecting.