Family: The old ball game continues to offer new excitement

For everything there is a time and a season.

And now, with the long hot days of summer stretching out before us, like so many delightful pages of a yet to be read book, it’s a special time of year.

A special season. It’s ball season.

Put them in coach! They’re ready to play.

And so, in the magic hour between supper and bedtime, dusty, quiet ball diamonds suddenly come to life as beloved little sons and daughters, sisters, brothers and grandchildren trot out to their positions.

It’s kind of like the movie Field of Dreams.

It’s a crazy, busy time for parents, for coaches and, as an afterthought, for grandparents such as my husband and myself who park ourselves front row and centre at almost every game.

We love being there. We love it more than Netflix or sitting on the flower strewn deck listening to the song birds or even reading a really good book.

In spite of our love of the game, we usually arrive late. It’s a habit. I blame it on my husband and he blames it on me and we are quite comfortable with the blame game which neither of us has ever won.

Regardless, being late is an acquired habit and we have perfected it well!

I am quiet when I watch the game, mostly because of my daughter.

Be quiet, mom, she said.

She gave me strict orders not to complain to the coach, the ump or anyone else who seems to be in charge when I’m not happy about any of the calls or decisions made regarding the player wearing No. 7.

When the ball is obviously not a strike, but the ump calls it that way, I am to say nothing, she said. Questioning the umpire about his visual impairment is not appropriate, she added.

“Be quiet, mom,” she said.

I am.

When No. 7 was the only player sitting on the bench in the dugout, swinging his little legs, ball glove laying beside him, looking morosely down at the ground, a shock of dark blond hair falling over his forehead, she said the same thing.

“Be quiet, mom.”

And so I contend myself with glaring at the coach, who saw fit not to put him in, with mean, grandma eyes.

Finally, the ump says it is the last inning.

The game is obviously almost over, not because they have played the required number of innings, but because in little league ball games do not go past 8:15 p.m.

The moms sitting in the bleachers breath a collective sigh of relief. They are tired and want to go home.

Finally, the little figure in the dugout trots out to the batter’s box.

He gets to play. I perk up.

The ball comes fast and hard across the centre of the plate.

He swings with all the strength of his nine-year-old self and, suddenly, without warning, he connects.

I hear the staccato crack of the bat and watch the ball soar respectably past the second baseman.

It’s a good hit! He rounds first and then second thanks to multiple errors on the other team. I yell go, go, go and for once my daughter doesn’t tell me to be quiet mostly because she is yelling, too.

I love watching ball games.

Too bad the season is almost over. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake.

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