Notes From A Softball Circle

By Pat Hegewald


The circle consisted of Ron Benhoff, Paul Vagnoni, Tim Tegel, Jimmy Gentile, Bill Buege, Bruce Meyers, Gregg Hansen, Jack Zimmerman and myself.  It took place in a room on 60th and 17th.  Being 10 to 15 years younger than most of the crowd, I listened far more than I spoke.  Some interesting takeaways:

Anytime you get a room full of ex-jocks, the only thing that tops the sports stories are the details of the hip and knee and other various joint replacement stories.

Aside from me, Gregg Hansen spoke the 2nd least amount, not surprising.  Bruce Meyers spoke the least, also not surprising.

Paul Vagnoni and Jack Zimmerman tied for the guys that spoke the most.  That surprised no one.

Most of the sports fun back in the day centered around the north side of Kenosha.  Conversations usually ended up including Petzke Park or Grant School.

Any time Paul shouted out a “hello” to a female employee of the facility we were in, Zimmie turned around to see who he was talking to.  Said Zimmerman, “hey, I’m still 20 in my mind”.

It was definitely a different time back then and no one in the room apologized for some pretty extreme behaviors, in the pursuit of a good time, that might not be readily accepted in today’s society.

Many good men…good Kenosha dudes have passed on, and that circle today is the type of gathering that keeps the memories of those great bunch of guys alive.

The conversations were as much about relationships as they were about games.  No one touted championships, what mattered was a bond created that would last 50 years.

Most everyone agreed that it would be great to be 12 or 15 again, but 15 in our day, not 15 in today’s day in age.

The lineup for the afternoon, using a baseball line-up

Tegel  LF  Power and Speed and can cover ground in outfield

Hansen  3B  Early on the curve of hitting the ball to right with power

Meyers  SS  Drove the ball to all fields pretty well, fundamental

Zimmerman  CF  Amazing skill level in his prime, no other words needed

Benhoff  RF  The “Reg” manning his favorite spot trying to gun a guy at 3rd

Buege  1B  Sporting a bad wheel, he can hold down 1B and get a runner

Gentile  2B  Not a 2B but a great guy who would do it for the team

Hegewald  P  Can’t play anywhere else with this group, might hold my own

Vagnoni  C  The manager/announcer/.author pressed into duty.


Thanks for letting me sit in your circle and listen!