Sunday, February 24, 2013

Baseball

Every year when baseball season rolls around, I get an extraordinary surprise.  I remember just how much I love the game.  I am sure I have said it before here, but I grew up with 3 brothers who all played ball through High School.  They covered the field.  A 2nd baseman, a catcher, and a pitcher/right fielder.  I never had a choice (that I recall) in attending a game, but once I got there, I pretty much watched and learned.   It was the 80's.  Aside from a Rubik's Cube, no handheld games or smart phones, so watch and learn was really the only choice I had.  I enjoyed playing fast pitch softball, but when we moved to a new town, slow pitch was the only option and I found it fantastically boring.  And so began my life as a spectator.
A grand portion of my memories of being a kid happened at a ball park.  I remember sitting under the bleachers and peeking out when the sun was too much.
I remember locking my aunt's keys in her car at a ball park.
I remember being diagnosed with chicken pox (which we first thought were mosquito bites) at a ball park.
The earliest crush I can remember having was on a boy on my oldest brother's little league team.  I was probably about 8.  There is something magically handsome about a baseball uniform.  (Insert "Dream Weaver" chorus here.)
I remember playing ball with my older brothers and going to buy my first glove.  I couldn't use a hand me down because I am a lefty.
I remember the black eye I got from walking into a Louisville Slugger.  A wood one.
I remember watching my dad coach my little brother's teams.
I remember my freshman brother getting called up to varsity and pitching a game with his senior brother behind the plate.  That was amazing and gut wrenching all at one time.
I remember the lowest GPA I ever brought home was Spring of my Freshman year and the only excuse I could offer was "Aggie Baseball".  I had never had that many games at my disposal before.  
I remember the feeling of unity among the teams and their fans.  A family for the season.
The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
I remember Mrs. Biagini, a tiny little woman, with a much larger voice and a Minnesota accent.  She would cheer and yell the most wonderful things and they sounded so great.  Her best work came each time her son would come to bat.  "Hey Davey, don't swing at no garbage."  I use that on occasion and have over the years worked very hard to hone my accent for a perfect delivery.  
I remember being the coldest cold and the hottest hot at the ball park.
The grime of red dirt on my skin and teeth and scalp.  The sunburns.  The wind burn.  Sand in my eyes.  Nachos with Jalapenos and a Dr. Pepper.
I remember being very happy and at home at the ball park and I wouldn't trade these memories, black eye included, for anything.
So each year when baseball season comes around, I feel the surprise.  It really shouldn't be a surprise, but it is.  Like running into an old friend.  You know the kind.  You can pick up where you left off, no matter how long it has been.  The kind it pains you to let go and only when they return do you fully realize just how much you missed them.  I spent this weekend watching my little boy and my friends' little boys play ball.  It was great.  I was happy.  And it made me think of all these things.  And it made me sigh and say, "Welcome back baseball.  Come in. Stay a while."

3 comments:

.....Elizabeth..... Polka Dot Skies said...

Great post !

Katy said...

Aww Elizabeth, you are precisely one of the friends I was thinking of in my analogy.

Brandy said...

Love it! Very well said... Here's to a great season for all the Little Eagles!

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