An important member of the California softball team was absent when the Golden Bears faced Washington for a berth in the College World Series last weekend in Berkeley. Barbara Wiggs, better known as Bebe to her friends—which is to say, to everyone who's ever met her—had a previous engagement at Disneyland, but her teammates didn't hold it against her. Bebe is only five years old, and besides, the Bears feel that she's with them even when she's not.
Last Friday, the day before the opener of the best-of-three series, Bebe was on the phone with assistant coach Tammy Lohmann, giving her a pep talk to pass on to the players. She wanted them to stay strong and be sure not to get discouraged even if something somehow went wrong (which wasn't likely, considering that Cal, the top-ranked team in the nation, entered the series with a 54--5 record). The Bears took the words of their honorary teammate seriously because Bebe has a 50-year-old's wisdom in her five-year-old soul. "When she talks about strength and about not giving up, it carries more meaning," says pitcher Jolene Henderson. "If there's anyone who knows what it takes to keep fighting, it's her."