Today was Opening Day for my son’s last year in Little League baseball. It is a bittersweet day for me. He will have played 10 years when this season is over. As the teams filed onto the field, I was transported back to when Ben was just starting in T-ball. I watched the little ones in their too big uniforms and too big gloves, jumping, giggling, not yet taking anything too seriously. The parade of teams continued until, finally, the big kids marched in with their official, stylish uniforms, their serious demeanors, their team pride – Ben among them. What a trip we’ve had. Ten seasons of practices and games in the fickle spring NM weather – bitter cold winds one day, shorts and t-shirt weather the next. Ten years of amazing coaches who taught the game with passion, enthusiasm and kindness. Ten years of new cleats, new gloves, new bats. Ten years of teammates who became fast friends – if only for a few months. I will miss all of this for sure. I love the game and I have loved watching Ben grow as a player. I had so hoped he would try for high school ball.
However, his passion has shifted. Basketball has won his heart. Now I must adapt to an indoor game, to expensive shoes, to buzzers and new rules, to the incessant bouncing of a ball in my house. It’s OK, in the end – I want him to be happy and love his sport of choice. But my heart will always belong to baseball and my memories of Little League will always be fond. And I will miss it deeply, intensely, and profoundly. In the words of the late, great Ernie Banks, “Let’s play two!”
Quote of the day: Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball. ~Pete Hamill