The sun was beginning to peek through the clouds. A handful of children scurried through the maze of parked vehicles. A young girl yells, “I’ve got it!” Retrieving the foul ball, she runs it back to the ball field. The baseball bleachers were packed. Safely behind the backstop, stood a boy of three years. Hanging onto the fence, he rolled back and forth on his push-bike, waiting for the crack of the bat. The loudspeaker announced, “Next at bat, number ten, Dan Evens.” –Swack! Grandma, Grandpa, sisters, brothers, Mom, Dad, neighbors, and classmates cheered!
There are few things more precious than a community gathering at a high school baseball game. I used to think sports was all about labeling for the “most competitive or most aggressive”. But I’ve learned, that the most honorable trait found in sports; is building endurance, by challenging and strengthening the body and mind! And in doing so, even the meek and thin-skinned, find self-esteem.
Fashion statements, fast cars and cellphones, came in last place among this crowd. A food stand selling peanuts and popcorn, hotdogs and hamburgers, candy and drinks didn’t outshine the scoreboard. Another day or place might have been filled with distractions from social media. Disconnected from the unrealistic flicks and clicks of others, today was about being a team. It was about being together.
Earlier that morning, the game had been postponed. While puddles were raked and covered, spectators seemed to patiently wait. They enjoyed the cool breeze, and the unique warmth of sunshine on this long-awaited spring morning. No-one seemed to be in a hurry today.
An older man leaned forward in his chair and asked the little boy resting on his bike, if he knew Chase Bennett.” Intensely looking at the man, he nodded and proudly answered, “You’re his Grandpa!” It isn’t uncommon for the parents and grandparents of sports teams, to know and care about each player and their families. Many of these high school graduates; will be heading off to college in the fall, and have expressed hopes of returning, to repay the old and help the young.
It was the last inning. This wasn’t the first time the bases were loaded. In the second and fifth inning, the third out, had left points on the field. This time, it was a home-run. The dugout was abandoned. Everyone on the west side of the bleachers jumped to their feet and applauded! The little boys’ wide eyes peered through the fence at the team.
Today’s game wasn’t the flashy world series. Despite the fact, there was nothing flashy about this day; this ballplayers’ accomplishments, might be more important to him, than graduation. For the best days in life, are not the ones we expect. The most important times are the ones that build our self-esteem and confidence.
The trinket I took from this experience, that I may use when writing children’s stories, is to remember that each child is like a tiny camera. They are watching and recording those insignificant words or gestures from peers, parents, and teachers. Even though we may be at the same ballgame, each of us will take away a different perspective. A day that is just an ordinary day to you, might be very important to your child.