Treena Mielke

COLUMN: Return to baseball

As the sun shines in Central Alberta, columnist Treena Mielke enjoys time at the ballpark

Put me in coach!

I’m ready to play today.

I’m not sure who sings that song, but, oh my goodness, it certainly is appropriate for my family of fledging ballplayers.

And somehow, I feel like I fit right in.

Being a grandma can be hugely exciting except when it’s not.

You know, the times when you flick aimlessly through Netflix, feeling like the rest of the world is spinning on its axes right on by you.

The kids are busy. The grandkids are busy. But grandpa and grandma, not so much.

Anyway, lately, those days have been few and far between for me, mostly because it’s ball season.

And that is a good thing.

I love it!

I grew up in a ball-playing family. A couple of my siblings were what you would call ‘naturals’ on the ball field. They were the kind of athletes’ people would talk about after the game. They even made the headlines in the sports section of the newspaper more than once.

Me, not so much.

I was what you would call ‘average’ and nobody talked about me after the game except to say, “I can’t believe she missed that easy fly ball, being she comes from that amazing ball-playing family.”

And I would hang my head in shame.

Anyway, I kept trying, telling myself hard work outweighs talent every time.

But even with that self chatter going on in the dugout that was alive and real in my head, my favourite games were not out on the ball field at all, but in my own front yard.

Those were the games I played with my brother, bless his dearly departed soul.

I loved that guy; I just didn’t know it then. In fact, I found him more than a little annoying, especially when he would pitch to the outside of the plate hoping and wanting me to swing wildly and miss.

Anyway, in those long-ago days when childhood and innocence played hand in hand with us, it was just me and my brother, a makeshift bat, and an old softball.

He would pitch to me and then I would pitch to him. We played until the sun went down, our only fan was our dad watching out the kitchen window.

I smile as a recall those days of my childhood, the cherished memory frozen forever in my mind, never to be erased by the passage of time.

But that was then, and this is now.

Now, I sit in the stands and cheer.

I cheer for the littlest grandson. The rookie. No. 9.

“Grandma, do you know what a foul ball is,” he queried. “And did you know after three strikes you are out?”

I cheer for the 10-year-old who hugs me fiercely after the game and says, “grandma, did you see me pitch?”

And I cheer for the 13-year-old who actually got the only hit of the game, Tuesday. True, it was a pop fly snagged easily by the second baseman, but, oh well, it was a hit. The only hit!

And then there is my 15-year-old granddaughter, who is a pitcher for Lloydminster Liners. Sometimes when the sun is in my eyes and she is like a silhouette on the pitcher’s mound, it’s like one of my memories comes alive and I’m watching my sister out there.

The natural!

Treena Mielke is a Central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.