“Cause I like it, I love it." 83-year-old woman still playing at Poplar Bluff softball field
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Out at the ballpark in Poplar Bluff, you’ll find Helen Kearbey rootin’ on her team.
"Gotta get some hits and runs, girls,” shouts Helen from the dugout.
She’s the team cheerleader.
“Doesn’t matter what we’re doing, she’s always an encourager to the team,” said Angie Bowman.
Not only that, but Helen is on the team too.
“You can do this, come on,” shouts Helen.
At the age of 83, Helen is still loving every minute of playing softball.
“Come on girls, what do you say now let’s get her out,” said Helen from behind home plate.
Helen is the team’s catcher, and she has no problem getting the ball back to the pitcher, time and time again.
“Cause I like it, I love it,” said Helen Kearbey.
She has no trouble catching an entire game.
“I don’t feel my age in one way, until I look in the mirror,” said Helen with a laugh.
For her, it’s a lifelong love of the game.
“I was probably playing when I was 6, 7 or 8 years old,” said Helen.
She even played on the boy’s team back in school when they needed some more players.
She enjoyed it so much that she continued to play as an adult. That includes during pregnancies.
Helen only remembers one serious injury, and that was back in her 70s.
“Well I slid into third base and broke my ankle, that’s the first I had any breaks or any hurt since I’ve been playing,” said Helen.
That didn’t keep her down long, though.
She now plays on a women’s league in Poplar Bluff.
They typically have a couple games each week.
“We don’t practice, we just get out there and play ball,” said Helen with a laugh.
On the night KFVS came out to watch her play, her team was playing a double header in the scorching heat.
She seems to power through the hot summer nights like a champ.
It certainly helps that she’s in great shape!
“Actually she can outrun some of us,” said Angie Bowman. “She’s definitely an inspiration to all of us. She’s one of the most positive, encouraging people I’ve ever met. She never gets down. No matter what the score is.”
At this point in that game, the team was down by several runs.
Helen may not knock the ball out of the park when she steps up to the plate.
“I’m slower and I haven’t been hittin’ as good,” said Helen.
But, when it was her turn to bat she got a single and an RBI.
The only difference these days is that she calls for a pinch runner.
To make the game even sweeter, she plays with her two daughters.
“RUN, RUN, RUN HARD, you got it,” shouts Helen as her daughter made it safely to first base.
And, how many players can say they have grand kids and great-grand kids watching in the stands?
“Whether it’s on the field, or off the field she is just an incredible woman,” said Angie Bowman. “She’s just an amazing person all around.”
Helen also makes everyone laugh.
“We’ve got to rattle them bats,” says Helen as she walks to the dugout.
“They’re probably wondering when I’m going to retire, as long as they let me play I’m gonna play,” said Helen.
Her teammates are definitely cheering her on.
“Oh we’ll let her play as long as she wants to play,” said Angie Bowman.
With all of the positive energy on the field, Helen’s team was right back on top.
“Call it,” said Helen from behind the plate. “That’s the ball game girls!”
They ended up winning the ballgame that night, 14-13.
While aging is inevitable, Helen proves that acting your age is overrated.
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