I have been around ball diamonds, some of which were real, some of which were imagined, most of my entire life.
I grew up in a ball playing family and have had the distinct pleasure of watching some family members capitulate themselves, due to their pitching, batting and catching ability, right into the big leagues.
And now I find myself back at the ball game watching as another generation of family members trot out to the field.
It makes me happy. It makes me proud. And it makes me old, actually, but I decide not to think about that.
These young ball players are young and enthusiastic.
They wear their talent cautiously, keeping it hidden, waiting, no doubt to be realized by some coach with a keen and watchful eye.
He or she is the one who will encourage and nurture and help these young athletes bring this latent potential to fruition.
In the meantime, there will be grandmas such as myself who yell and carry on and whisper to these youngsters that they are the best players ever and definitely the cutest. And, then, win or lose, they take them out for ice cream and hugs and do everything that is humanly possible to make sure they feel good, not because they made the perfect catch or hit or pitch, but just because they are.
Grandmas don’t care if their grandchildren can hit, or run or score the highest mark on a math test. Grandmas just care that they are!
But, anyway, for me, watching a ball game is the best possible way to spend a night when the sun hangs heavy in the western sky and the ball fields are pulsating with life.
This year, I have to say in all honesty, the most entertaining game grandpa and I watched happened just the other night.
The game was T-ball. The player of choice was our youngest grandson, Jacob.
We watched the game, if you could call it that, on a night made for a ball game.
You know, when the sun is mellow yellow in a baby blue sky and the fields are every hue and shade of green you can imagine with the promise of a great and bountiful harvest lurking in the shadows.
We arrived at the ball game late.
We are usually late and people forgive us, especially if we bring wine, but of course that would be totally inappropriate at a T-ball game so we had no offerings, just ourselves and our cheering voices.
“There he is,” I yelled excitedly to my husband. “That kid on second base with his baseball hat on backwards. Look, he’s wearing his brother’s glove.”
It was true. It was him. He had marched his five-year-old self out resolutely to second base. It was pretty clear he had no idea what he should do next but he was there, anyway. On the field. In position.
And so the game proceeded. And we watched. And we laughed. A lot. Mostly, we laughed.
The little players, all of whom were about four or five years old, did their best to hit that ball somewhere into oblivion, even if they had to complete a full circle to do it.
And then they would run like the wind to first, interrupting the player already on first who did not realize they were supposed to advance to second.
So between hurried instructions from the coach and the all the coaches in the stands, the game went on. And on!
The end result was one hour of mass confusion and two teams comprised of weary little four and five year olds who were quite pleased to finally end up with a much deserved ice cream treat.
And so we drove home while the sun lit the western sky with liquid fire.
And I thought about T ball.
It is true. You have to walk before you run. T ball’s kind of like that.
And, in the bigger picture, so is life.
There is so much to learn and the older I get the more I realize there is so much more to learn that I don’t know.
It is humbling, but true.
But on the flip slide, we can all learn a little something about a lot of stuff simply by remembering we have to walk before we can run.
And if we need a reminder, we just need to watch a game of T ball.