Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
I may have been born in the south, but my heart lies with the Chicago Cubs.
As a kid I would listen to Harry Caray. Pat Hughes. Ron Santo. And Chip Caray on WGN Radio. I sang along with the seventh inning stretch. With my glove in tow, I went to my first game on a bus with our local Moose Lodge.
Most afternoons I’d call my grandma to complain that Sammy Sosa “couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn” before heading off to play summer league softball under the field lights. I spent most of my time behind home plate except for when I moonlighted at first base for a season or two. My depth perception is pretty sketchy, so outfield was never the right fit. And much to my mom’s disappointment third base just didn’t work out.
As a parent I celebrated when my blue-eyed girl wanted to play summer league softball. Froze during fall ball. And hid in the car for spring ball. It wasn’t until she started playing Northern Illinois Softball Association (NISA) ball that I started to surface from the car. Her coach was my big-little boy’s babysitter, and she needed an assistant. Cue the beginning of my coaching career.
Together we coached three seasons a year. During practices I’d run the bases so the girls could bat. Field. And throw out runners leading off and stealing first and second base. At games I was stationed at first as I tend to be a more aggressive base runner.
My blue-eyed girl played softball until we moved until our new-to-us-farmhouse. I assumed my days on the ball field were over when she decided that she just didn’t have time between barrel racing, drill, and the fair.
Earlier this year, our big-little boy declared that he wanted to join little league. We had assumed that he wasn’t interested. He had been dragged to every one of his sister’s games and most of her practices since he arrived on the scene that hot June night. And he rarely showed interest in the sport…or really in any sport.
His baseball practices kicked off in April. We cringed as he declared that he knew how to pitch. Hid our faces when he shouted that he didn’t know where second base was. And celebrated as he started to hit and field.
Our big-little boy is very comfortable with all things physical. He could run before he could talk. He learned to ride a bike before his older blue-eyed sister. He longs to ice skate. Roller skate. And visit a waterpark. His blue-eyed sister, not so much.
He simply glowed the first time he wore his cleats to practice and when said cleats came home dirty he couldn’t contain his excitement. He giggled when he found a baseball in the barn. And raced into the backyard to practice hitting with his sister.
We’re barely into his first season and really don’t know if baseball will be his sport. But his excitement. Enthusiasm. And giggles make it worth it. It’s my hope that as we continue looking at the season, be it baseball. The growing season. Or political season that we can find joy, humor, and excitement.