Friday, July 30, 2010

giddiness

The players finally have a grasp of the game's fundamentals. They chatter in the dugout, new friendships cemented, important moments to rehash. "Remember when we had that double play?" "Remember when I slid into home plate?" "Remember when I had that big hit?"

I do. I do.

The beep and whir of cameras held by proud parents and grandparents compete with crickets chirping in the background. The smell of Deep Woods Off and dust fill our noses. The coaches chide their players, laughing and relaxed and (quite) relieved that the season is over. They joke with light hearts, tugging down baseball caps. One carries a player like a sack of potatoes to the outfield while the infield collapses in giggles.


The score doesn't matter, in fact, it never has. Tonight the coaches agree to play the last inning by a whole new set of rules. Mr. D calls over the flurry of players running towards the dugout, "Whoever didn't hit twice tonight, grab a helmet." I check the roster and line up the kids--only four. The rest sit tight, gloves on, ready to race back out after the fourth hitter. Three outs won't end this inning. Our turn at-bat ends when everyone has had a fair chance to hit the ball again. After the fourth hitter, two runners on bases, one out, we switch positions with the opposing team. Our team catches and tags their batters out, out, out, out, out, out. But the score and the count don't matter. We're not playing against a clock, we're not playing to win. We're playing for fun.


The evening air is warm and filled with bugs. The right-fielder is snagging balls like a pro and one little girl scoops up the ball and flings it towards second base--her first contact with the ball as an outfielder all season. August vacations and back-to-school rushing around will come soon enough. Tonight we linger for team pictures and indulge in post-game slushies and popcorn, savoring the end of summer baseball.

Thanks, coach. We had a lot of fun.

16 comments:

  1. Your awesome! I could smell the stale popcorn (or at least our field's always is) and feel their energy! Nights like that are one in a million :)

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  2. what a lovely summer image you painted here on the ball field.

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  3. It was the Deep Woods Off that got me. I could smell it.

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  4. I can hardly wait for Lola to start playing t-ball. I just know she'll love it. She getting to be pretty good at throwing a ball, the swinging of the bat leaves a little to be desired. I trully hope I can paint a picture as beautiful as yours, some time next year.

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  5. What a happy post! That's really what summer little league baseball is all about-- playing for fun!
    Thanks for making me smile.
    jj

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  6. What a great time for the boys and girls of summer.

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  7. Wow, you painted a picture I enjoyed with all of my senses! I even felt the relaxed joy there for a minute. :)

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  8. What a night and what a treat for taking us there! Thanks for that.

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  9. I loved watching my kids play ball - summer leagues or school teams. They had so much fun, competitive or not.

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  10. THAT is so darn awesome...and exactly as it should be.

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  11. That brings back so many fun memories of my days of playing softball and the years I spent coaching. Thanks for your vivid description. Savor each moment. Time goes by so fast...

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  12. *sigh* Summer baseball. Love all the reminders of happy times and young kids.

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  13. Awesome GG...sorry I haven't been around in awhile. :(

    Sounds like you all had a great time!

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  14. Yeah for you guys!!!! Neither of my boys play baseball and I soooo wish that they did.....my dad and I are the biggest NY Yankee fans and they don't even like to watch it with me :(

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  15. Sounds like the perfect (nearly) Summer day!

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