Zak’s Murrieta Roots…..



Including a stint as one of Murrieta Valley High School softball’s first pitching coaches.

So Zak enjoyed today’s story in the Californian about the Murrieta Valley High School  girl’s softball team, pausing for a few moments to recall pleasant memories, which I am now sharing  with you.

In the early 1990s, my daughter, Melissa, was a member of the first graduating class at  Murrieta Valley High (class motto? Never before. Never again) . She was also a skinny little second baseman for the Nighthawk girls softball team.

And since Zak had pitched championship level fast pitch softball in the Central Valley community of Visalia, California, winning the city league championship, pitching for the Lamplighter Inn softball team (made up of former players from the Orosi High School baseball team), he was asked to volunteer as pitching coach for the MVHS girls softball team.

He enthusiastically accepted the challenge.

It was delightful experience teaching aspiring, young athletes how to set up a batter, and the umpire, with a sinking fastball on the outside corner of the plate for a called third strike. Overweight umpires love to make an exaggerated “yer outta there” call with excessive hand gestures, to boot. Have you never seen Leslie Nielsen as an umpire in the Naked Gun movies?

Once the young ladies learned that unfair, inconsistent, part-time umpires are merely a part of the food chain (Zak obviously has umpire issues), and that they love to have their have their massive and controlling egos manipulated with a combination of glares and stares at timely moments, the girls also learned that umpires could be set up for that outside, sinking fastball moment.

It was a delightful time period in my life. Murrieta was a brand-new city and, while the runaway growth provide an opportunity to replace a modest home in Long Beach for a brand-new home in Murrieta, it was also apparent that the seeds of over-building had been planted long before Zak arrived.

When I later moved my family to Wildomar in 1994, it was apparent by the aging nature of the historic community and the variety of home settings, with two half-acre ranches sitting next to  mobile homes on small lots, that Wildomar was not Murrieta.  

It was apparent that Wildomar was never going to be overrun by vast tracts of red tile roofed homes. Rather, developers would have to develop in a smaller, piecemeal fashion, when they prefer to wipe out large pieces of flat farmland with hundreds of box-like homes. And, as a result, you see the Wildomar Planning Commission and City Council deal with the various issues, unique to Wildomar, such as trails and lot setbacks, when a developer brings the next high density project to Wildomar. Fortunately, the slower process permits Wildomar to control its own destiny.

So they, thankfully, head for Menifee instead, where they seem to be readily accommodated. How’s that working out for you, Menifee?

It’s time to go check my blood pressure for the day, before I have my first cup of decaf coffee, so my little trip down memory lane is over for now. I’m glad you stopped by.

Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle/staff photographer  for the Californian.


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