Sharing a memory of Paul Algar
By David Spring
Quad Cities, IL – My wife had no time at all for our game, and cut me loose, much to my advantage, whenever I expressed a compulsion to attend the next fastpitch tourney wherever and whenever it landed.
This lasted until one fine Saturday morning at the absolute best of all fastpitch tournies, Neil Fennell’s Perth Shootout. I’d dragged her there and Paul Algar was in the circle for the first game of the day. I’d told her little, and when he walked to the rubber, she said to me:
“My God, are they all like this?” And when, some hours later, she answered her own question, she said to me, “You know David, that man is the absolute poster boy for fastpitch softball.”
Paul had made a convert of her. And while that may well have been the least of his contributions to the game, I’ve since heard many expressions of a like nature from the distaff side. Moreover, what you’re going to read next is not the paean to superb pitching that you might expect (that comes a little later).
Paul Algar is simply one of the finest and most complete human beings ever to play our game. His natural, friendly disposition and gregarious deportment has endeared him to fastpitch fans all over the planet, and his talent has earned him the respect of all of us who love the game, and who mourn its sad deterioration.
There are, of course, a sufficient number of tales of Paul as a pitcher in his prime who achieved miraculous results. There aren’t enough, though, that exemplify the Paul Algar who inspired or reinforced a love of the game without stepping on the rubber. Here’s one of them.
We’re going back to one of the Perth Shootouts, and a late night it was after a superb day at Conlin Farm Park. it was around one or two in the morning and I and a friend of mine (no names, please, but it was Gib from St Thomas) were killing a bottle or nine on the front porch of the Maple Leaf Motel (I think it was) in Perth when Paul did a 4-wheel drift in his Monte Carlo into the parking lot and alighted with a happy grin on his face.
We greeted him with our alcoholically-enhanced exuberance, and he was pleased to respond. In the next half-hour he was equally pleased to show Gib and me just how to throw a rise ball and a drop.
The next morning (which wasn’t really very far away at all), the lessons were gone, but the delight in discourse with one of the great players of the game was there and has remained so.
There are other memories of course, including Paulie striking out Freddie Wyatt, another Kiwi and one with a fearsome bat, in a meaningful game at Sunset Park in Kimberly with the game on the line and a 3-2 count. But just as delightful are the recollections of Paul as he walked slowly off the mound in an early inning of a game that didn’t count for a lot, and in which he been knocked around.
In response to a raised eye-brow and an unasked question, he replied merely, “I was overserved last night.”
Paul, you’ve been overserving us for years, and we are truly grateful. Many thanks, and congratulations. I’ll be the first one on my feet.