Late in my Marine Corps career while stationed at Camp Pendleton I developed a friendship with a big guy who enjoyed playing softball. He was one of those corn fed crewcut-wearing offensive lineman looking guys who spent half his at bats crushing softballs served up on the slow pitch platter over the fences. I think we first started talking because he drove the same old style of Chevy pickup truck that my step-dad owned. His favorite after work pasttime was to drive out to a park in the town of San Clemente and hang out at the softball fields. He would monitor games and wait and see if a team was short a player and volunteer his services. I went along with him and it was a good way to get to play softball with civilians.
The first night I accompanied him to the park I hopped onto a team consisting of a bunch of guys who worked security at a local hotel. I played real well and they invited me back the next week (that was always the goal: perform well and get invited back). Since rosters are supposed to be set before the season started they told me that if anyone asked I should give them a name they chose from the roster. I played with the team for a couple of months and contributed to a pretty good season and it was nice to make a few friends outside of the Marines for a change.
This was right near the end of my enlistment and the manager of the team actually tried to convince me to stay in California after I got out of the Marines and work at the hotel. He said he could get me a job in security if I wanted and I could continue playing on the team. They were a fun tight knit group of fellas and I considered it. I was dating a Filipina bartender at the time who offered to let me live with her. Here was a chance at a place to live with a gorgeous and nice woman and gainful employment in southern California. I've always wondered just how different my life would be right now if I had taken those two offers instead of joining my mom and dad in Charlotte. Knowing me I probably would have left after two months anyway and be right where I am right now.