Saturday, September 18, 2010

swing batter batter

Just like that, we're a baseball family.
Three times a week, at the field to cheer on the big boy.
Rick stands at the dugout, calling out who's on deck.
I perch on the bottom bleacher, ready to dash after Phoenix.
The girls tromp along the top bleacher, giggling and spitting water at each other.
And Phoenix alternately roams under the bleachers and fires baseballs at the fence. Rattle, rattle goes the fence. Bing! The loud, metallic sound of his ball rocketing into a low sign. As long as the noises continue behind me, I know he has not wandered off.
"Hit da ball! Hit da ball! Got it, got da baseball game! Hah!"

Today was our first game, after 2 weeks of practice.
Cole has said he runs through three emotions: excitement, boredom and nerves. Sounds about right. Last inning, he leads off at bat. He stands still, looking relaxed, with none of the prancing and showiness of the veteran set. His swing is easy and effortless, and always surprises me with its effect. A good solid hit gets him to first, with a big grin. The next batter pops a foul, and there goes Cole, stealing second. Scampering like a little squirrel, without waiting to be told. Another hit, and while the outfielders chase it, Cole rounds third and heads for home. A successful start to fall ball!

It will take commitment, we realize. We will have to be a one-sport-at-a-time family, to do it right. I'm still wrapping my head around the necessary and continual practice, the weekend visits to the batting cage, the call of the concession stand. But there we will be en masse, yelling for Cole and trooping from ballpark to ballpark, enjoying the sun and the fall. Enjoying that slice of americana that is little league.

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Put it right here, babe!