If I had a dime for every baseball game I have sat through, I could buy a tropical island in the south pacific.
I’ve sat through baseball games in the rain.
And the cold.
And the sunshine.
I’ve seen runs and hits and slides into home plate and bunts and outs.
I’ve sat through games with a team in the depths of despair because they were down by 14 runs.
I’ve sat through games with a team with hit after hit, scoring runs like they were hot cakes.
And through it all, there’s one thing I’ve learned.
There’s always baseball tomorrow.
This week was the start of the varsity baseball season.
The beginning of another year of runs and outs and catches and hits.
My son plays outfield. Left field to be exact.
The outfield in a baseball game is a tough position.
It can be the loneliest place or earth or the stuff that dreams are made of.
The game started and after a couple of innings it was in full swing.
We were losing and we were down by two runs and there stood my son in left field, arms out, glove extended, watching the batter expectantly, waiting for the chance to make a catch.
Kind of like the marine of the outfield.
And then it happened.
The batter at home plate swung and hit a fly ball to the outfield. It soared through the night sky silhouetted against the stars and the lights of the baseball field and kind of hanging in mid-air, suspended in time until suddenly it dropped.
Right over left-field.
It looked uncatchable. It swerved and curved in the air and headed for the corner of the ball park where all the home runs take up residence. Everyone in the stands hung their heads and sighed. “It’s a hit,” I heard someone say.
My heart dropped.
I started preparing my “you really gave it your all and there will be other games and the ball wasn’t even catchable” speech for the ride home.
And as the ball soared through the air, that left-fielder ran with everything he had.
He ran and ran and ran and ran.
He ran until his hat fell off.
He ran with his glove extended and his heart in every step.
And then just as the ball took a turn to the left in the sky, he dove through the air….
….and caught that fly ball.
The stands erupted.
The cheers went wild.
He ran in from the outfield with a smile on his face the size of that small island in the south pacific and his teammates surrounded him and that glove and that ball and together they ran into the dugout for the next inning.
And that catch?
It started a rally that won the game.
And that moment made every drop of rain, every game, every cup of hot chocolate in the cold and every bit of sunscreen in the sun worth it. I would watch hundreds more games for a moment like that.
Because that baseball tomorrow?
It showed up with style. 🙂
PS Here’s a picture from when he was in middle school baseball. Here’s hoping he doesn’t read this post. 🙂
PPS I was reenacting the catch on the front porch in my robe and pajamas the next morning as he was leaving for school.
I started running with my pretend glove outstretched and leaning over to dive.
He grinned and his brown eyes twinkled.
“Other hand, mom,” he said. 🙂