I believe in the healing properties of baseball.
Both of my sons play, and this year I helped coach their teams. I ran the bench, ducked practice swings, and high-fived players hitting a grand slam or striking out.
That I find myself anywhere near a baseball diamond is ridiculous.
Never sports savvy, I find it challenging to cross a room, even one emptied of furniture, without sustaining injury.
As a kid, I was the puny one picked last by captains even for Lawn Jarts.
Through adolescence I dreaded P.E. so thoroughly I would have traded it for daily root canals. Endodontic therapy being humiliation-free.
Every sport was impossible with two exceptions. I squeaked by in handball, and man, could I steal that bacon!
Since I neither learned to play baseball nor observed more than half an inning, it is truly a miracle to have offspring who play so well.
I watch my sons glare at the pitcher, preparing to swing and motor around bases as if their life hangs in the balance.
It is thrilling to note steady improvement in their slugging; their fluidity as they scoop up the ball and fire.
The boys really have no clue they are helping their klutzy mom re-claim something from childhood she assumed was forever buried.
This year, son Luke’s team enjoyed an exceptional season, losing just twice. From April to July, my husband conducted baseball school for twelve Roscoe Cubs.
What those players did not know is that I was their fellow classmate. There were endless questions for the coach. Why didn’t the player on third advance? Does that last run count? When do you tag the runner?
Baseball terminology is an education and causes me to wonder how I muddled through without hotbox, the Mendoza Line, or squeeze play in my vocabulary.
My favorite term is chin music, but since it’s a pitch that comes near the batter’s face, it’s also my nightmare when either of my sons is on the mound.
With so many sweet wins, our Cubs were confident they would beat the Yankees in the first round of the tournament. They were focused, and we could taste the win. They sacrificed their bodies, taking it into a nail biting extra inning.
I’ll never forget how quickly stunned expressions on the innocent faces of those seven and eight year olds turned to tears. The game, the tournament, and the season came to an abrupt end with a brilliant Yankee double play.
I knew most of us would lose sleep. I knew it would take time for the residue of the loss to dissipate. But I also recognized a personal victory.
For the first time in my life I truly enjoyed a sport and helped a little baseball team enjoy a winning season.
The baseball world my husband and sons have enjoyed for years encompasses me now.
It’s no small feat and causes me to wonder:
What else is out there just waiting to be explored?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.