I have mentioned it more than once, but in April of 2006, I officially announced my retirement from the world of softball. Surprisingly, I have stayed true to my word. I have only played 2 games all summer and they were emergency calls for a friend. Tonight was the 2nd of those 2 games. As I stood in my customary spot in left field, I could not help but soak it all in. The complex we play at has 4 fields that form one large circle, so you are able to catch the action for multiple games. My attention span being what it is, it’s safe to say my thoughts were a driftin’.
Tomorrow night marks the end of another milestone this summer. It will be the final game for my sons t-ball team, which I have had the opportunity to coach. I have to admit that at first, I felt like a fish out of water. Not 100% sure how to take 10 five year old’s and lay the ground work for what will become their baseball foundations. Like every baseball movie you have seen involving children, those 10 have taught me something about myself in return. It has been my pleasure to spend my evenings with each of them and their different personalities.
I couldn’t help but think of their excitement over stopping a ball as I looked at grown men chewing each other out for not catching a pop fly. I recalled their joy over getting a hit while seeing teams throw the bat for popping up. I thought of their favorite part of our games when we hand out the game ball, as I witnessed 30 something’s complain about losing and the umpires. I remarked to my wife that softball looks a whole lot different after taking a few months off. Sad thing, most of what is written above could be said of me in recent years.
Don’t get me wrong, the sting of a well hit ball and the feel of a pop fly landing in your glove are pretty hard to forget. I actually enjoyed that part of the evening again. It doesn’t come close to the toothless grin of a 5 year old, or the high five of someone half your size. Life is a lot more simple when the biggest thing you are worried about at the end of the game is who brought the snack. It’s contagious. I have to close so I can go work on our pick-up truck sign for the 4th of July parade. Rumor has it that the Rangers and Cardinals are planning something big….