From Rocket man to family man (Glen Davis)
By Bob Otto / Yucaipa, CA, July 29, 2002
He can try to run from it, try to hide from it, or try blocking it out of his mind, but getting fastpitch softball entirely eradicated from his system is nearly impossible to do.
Glen “Rocket” Davis was born for fastpitch softball. The former New Zealander, who now lives in Santa Maria, California with his wife Tracy and two children for the past five years, admits that, yes, he does miss the game.
And from that fierce glare in his eyes as he stares in at a batter, and from his signature grunt as he fires a pitch to home plate, Davis has lost none of his tenacity.
But, instead of traveling across country every weekend, matching his explosive rise ball and devastating change up with the best hitters in the game, Davis is content to be a family man. And an occasional fastpitch pitcher.
“I miss it at times,” said Davis. “But, now I enjoy watching my daughter Hayley (age 8 ) pitch. She pitched for the first time this year, and I was more nervous watching her than pitching myself.”
With his daughter pitching, it would reason that Davis teach her the fine art of the sport. “No,” he said with grin. “Her granddad (Charlie Compton) coaches her.”
Davis has a second family reason to be a stay-at-home dad: his seven-month old son, named so as not to forget where he came from. “Zealand,” answered Davis with a chuckle, when quizzed about his son’s name. Actually, said Tracy, after she and Glen couldn’t decide on a name, they turned to their daughter for help. “She named him Zealand,” said Tracy. And does Tracy see telltale signs that her husband wishes to battle the best hitters, and hopscotch around the country making a name for himself while leading his team to tournament championships?
“No, Glen is happy just to play in a tournament like this (Best of the West) and see some of his old friends,” she said. “I think if he gets a few tournaments, he’s happy.”
Agreed Davis, “My traveling days are behind me,” he said. “I came over
the U.S.) in 1983 and had a good go of it.” As confirmation, Davis said he turned down offers from two major level teams to pitch this season.
And with that, Davis has really settled into home life, buying a house, coaching softball at Hancock Junior College, and working in the building supply business.
But softball pitching never strays far from Glen and Tracy. Never quite out of either’s blood. Tracy, who along with her sister Heather, led the UCLA Bruins to college national championships, coaches softball and teaches math at Righetti High School, where she graduated. A school that has a steep tradition in producing world-caliber female softball pitchers.
“Tracy is the assistant coach with Richard Canejo, her high school coach, said Glen. “There’s a long tradition of great pitchers there.”
That would include Tracy and Heather (Compton) and Jocelyn Forest who led the University of California Golden Bears to the NCAA title this past season. Also on Tracy’s softball honors is her induction into UCLA’s Hall of Fame. “She was inducted with Troy Aikman…(in 1999),” said Glen. Although he doesn’t wish to travel, Glen would still like to stay in the game but on a local level. “There’s no ball up here,” he said. “They tried to start a city league, but it didn’t go. I would like to pitch maybe a few innings during the week (if there were a league).”
And he said he would like to give back to the sport. “If young players were pin pointed to me here or there, I could teach them (pitching),” he said. “Softball’s been my life. A lot of people helped me out. I’m willing to help out (too).
When asked how you overcome high school baseball players who regard fastpitch softball as a “girl’s game”, Davis said: “If only they could see some of the big boys pitch, they would play.
“Todd Budtke (current Farm Tavern and former professional baseball player) told me that he wished he had played fastpitch when he was younger, because after playing fastpitch, a baseball looks this big (Davis making a circle the size of a soccer ball).”
At age 36, “Rocket” is fit and in prime shape. But family-man shape, with just a few weekends during the season to meet old friends at the ball yard. Weekends to glare into home plate, grunt when he fires his pitches, and show that “Rocket” still has fastpitch softball in his blood.