We, in the northeast, are receiving a blessing this weekend. At least I choose to consider it such. And that blessing is coming in the form of sun and a temperature well above freezing. Only the last stubborn bit of snow, aided by the shade of the sycamores lingers on.
My husband was in India for business and I realized, at the prodding of my younger son, that the boys had baseball tryouts this weekend. Since they were a little rusty (Maybe they’ve thrown things at each other over the last six months but definitely not balls into gloves), I decided that as a dedicated Mom, I would take them to the batting cages. Armed with a good book (a very good book, an ARC of GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD, no less. Oh, do I brag? Yes! I brag. But I digress…) Armed with a good book, we made our trek to the batting cages. Indoor and open, I figured we’d scored. But alas, the cage for my younger son (read: sloooooow pitch) was broken, so we left. After two more failed attempts and driving a broad circle around the Main Line, I resolved to run the batting practice myself. Stop it, don’t laugh!
Some of you will say, "Great, you’re an active mom, you’re an active person, what’s the big deal?" And I am active, I run and do yoga. Occasionally, I bike and swim, too. But you’ll notice that none of those are team sports. See, hand-eye coordination is not my strong suit. (If my mother is reading this right now, she’ll be shaking her head at the memory of my short-lived lacrosse career.) Doesn’t matter, I’m determined. We gathered balls, bats, and gloves – the boys with theirs, me with my husband’s. Oh and batting helmets. Um, yeah – no way was I going to try pitching unless my beloved children’s brains were protected.
My older son (age: 13) was the bravest so he stepped up first. The first two pitches were way outside. The next two, over his head. the third would have clipped him on the arm if he didn’t move. He was patient and – did I already say brave? – coaching me and showing me where to aim the ball. After a while, I got the hang of it, my pitching improved, and I was thrilled to hear the whack of bat on ball as the boys connected and sent the ball flying.
I pictured the drills my husband conducted when he coached little league and decided that next, they would do some fielding. I’d seen my husband toss up a ball and whack it deep into field. How hard could it be?
I tossed ball after ball and whiffed again and again. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, my neighbor came by with his two star athlete sons. "How’s it going, coach?" he yelled. I felt my face cycle through several shades of red before it settled on the most appropriate: Phillies red.
Since I’m a grown woman who is (usually) mature, I didn’t give up. I kept at it until I ran out of balls and I eventually hit a few. Then, out of breath, I turned the bat over to my older son and took my place in the field. He tossed a ball up like he didn’t have a care in the world and crack! – sent it way over our heads and into the woods.
It was a perfect afternoon, practicing baseball skills on a day when the earth squelched beneath our sneakers the sun warm us enough to shrug off jackets as we grabbed for pop flies and knelt to scoop grounders. What could be better than that? What’s your perfect day?