Posts Tagged ‘baseball’
Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
Sawyer has fallen in love with baseball this year.
I couldn’t be happier. Not that it’s about me. But he now wants to sit on the couch with me and watch the games on TV. He asks to play catch. He’s excited to go to practice and his games.
Tuesday he got his first chance to pitch. I warmed him up behind the dugout, reminded him to get his arm back and his foot coming forward and to imagine my glove was the TV with Call of Duty on it so he’d keep his eye on it the entire time.
And then he went onto the field and stood on the mound by himself and I quietly had a heart attack because he looked so little out there and I wanted him to do well so he’d feel good about himself and gain some confidence.
He did pretty well, considering how nervous I know he was. He even struck out the last guy.
We were so proud of him. HE was so proud of him.
Even though I aged in dog years watching it.
Here’s a VERY short highlight. It was a strike.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
They had their one night game of the season, my son’s Little League team. The game is always fun; each player gets to pick their own song (Sawyer chose Jump Around by House of Pain) which plays while they’re at bat, and an announcer talks about the kids favorite food (orange chicken), Major League player (Albert Pujols), video game (Call of Duty).
This is the last level where the games don’t count. The kids just started pitching and only get four – if the batter doesn’t get on or strike out, then the coach comes in and throws three more pitches.
We were surprised to see the scoreboard was on and the runs were going up and we would have a winner. In Sawyer’s previous game, he’d only gotten one at-bat and his best friend struck him out. He cried in the dugout, sure he’d never figure out what pitches he should swing at, as they’d used a machine to pitch up until then.
Friday night, he struck out again his first time up. He lunged at the ball, his feet weren’t set, I could tell he was nervous.
While he sat in the dugout during the defensive half of an inning because there are 11 kids on the team, I snuck in and told him to take his time, set his feet and he’d be fine.
His next at-bat? He knocked a single down the first base line. The smile on his face was lit from within. He’d done it. He was standing on first and he simply glowed.
It was awesome.
His team won, 7-2.
And after, they watched their balloons soar into the night. Little kids being little kids.
Sunday, September 11th, 2011
“Thank G-d you’re there.”
That is what my best friend blurted out with tremendous relief when I answered the phone the morning of September 11, 2001.
I had only moments before turned on the TV, after David called and woke me up; he’d heard the news on the radio on his way into work.
Laura gave me the details. She lived in Connecticut, I in Southern California. I worked nights so I was still a little bleary.
I asked her to repeat herself. Several times.
Because how could I understand the incomprehensible?
I still can’t.
I was a sportswriter back then, covering the Anaheim Angels, who were playing at home that week. I had likely covered the game the night before. In the newspaper business, sportswriters flew all the time - which is why my best friend was so anxious to make sure I was safe. But I knew writers from all over the country and I prayed nobody I knew was on one of the planes. Fortunately, none of them were.
One week after 9/11 I flew to Seattle. Baseball was ordered back on the field. It was part of moving forward, proving that life would go on despite what some in the world might wish. So I went to the airport and walked past men wearing camouflage and toting machine guns. I sat on the plane and nervously eyed all the passengers, as if by staring at them I could sense if they were about to open a bag of peanuts or stand up and take over the plane. We were all jittery.
Our bags were thoroughly checked before we even entered Safeco Field. I was nervous to be in a big stadium with lots of people. The Angels lost that night, and also the next night, when the Mariners clinched the AL West. Instead of wild celebration, Seattle veteran Mark McLemore carried a huge American flag to the pitchers mound. His teammates knelt around him for a moment of silence.
Then they took a slow parade around the infield with the flag, their caps off and raised to the heavens.
I stood in the pressbox and watched, transfixed.
There is being a professional, an impartial observer.
Then there is 9/11.
That night, my heart was healing, too.
It still is.