Heroic Baseball Moment!

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We’ve had a lot of baseball around here lately, what with two practices and two games a week for one of my boys since the beginning of May. Last year, we had two boys doing ball. We’ve had some years where four kids do it (plus Shakespeare play practice, dance recitals, and soccer, yikes!).  Dutifully, I go and watch to support my child, but I have to admit, it’s not something I really like. At least it’s not watching bowling. Baseball has its moments, but most of it is boring.

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A rare, non-boring baseball moment.

It’s not constantly fast and zippy like basketball. So, I bring a book and have a private party, just me and a book. I’ve read a lot of books this way. One spring/summer of baseball games I read this pair of books about Louisa May Alcott and her mother, both by Eve LaPlante, an award-winning author who is related to the Alcotts.

Now that was a wonderful baseball season! I felt like I was transported back to Transcendental New England in the 1800s. I was amazed at how much Louisa was influenced by her mother’s mentoring. I was blown away by how strong and determined and wise Louisa’s mother was. I was also mad at how lazy and insensitive to his wife that the dad, Bronson, was. Mr. March from Little Women he was not. No wonder Louisa did not have the dad at home in Little Women, she didn’t know what it’s like to have a model male father figure working productively while living at home. She shipped him off to the Civil War for the book.

OK, enough of the Alcotts’ dysfunctional family wounds and back to this summer. Recently, I read Julie Andrews wax eloquently about baseball in her poetry collection, pictured below:

Gushingly unabashedly, she describes a grandson who loves baseball. This love has spread to her whole family as they support him in games and umping all through spring and summer. In true Julie/Maria/Mary Poppins fashion, her cheery enthusiasm has infected me. I’ve decided to let the sport grow on me. Here’s the poem she shares in the book, called Analysis of Baseball by May Swenson.

I have to admit that as a mom of five boys, I haven’t always shared their passions for things that I’m not wild about. Like for Boy Scouts, or baseball. I won’t go into all the details. Let’s just say two things. First, it has never seemed fair to me since I first got the crushing news at age 8 that scouting through the LDS church was just for boys. Why not? I can hardly contain a daily happy dance after decades of “Why not?” and almost 13 years of monthly Pack Meetings (because of 5 boys). This announcement here has me giddy. It could not have come sooner! Second, baseball is sooooo s-l-o-w. I’ve sat through A LOT of ball games, for both my sons and daughters. As I said before, I always make sure to bring a few great books to read when my kid’s not up to bat.

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We had this great moment in baseball, however, a few weeks ago at my son’s game. Here’s my husband’s description of it:

In the bottom of the last inning, we are behind by four points. We score four points and tie the score. There is a runner on third base. There are two outs. S. approaches home plate. He was up to bat once before during this game, but struck out. He takes his place in the batter’s box, and raises his bat over his shoulder.
Pitch after pitch speed past him. Finally the count is full, three balls and two strikes. It looks like another strike-out in the making. As the last pitch approaches, S. begins to swing. Because his swing is late, the ball is destined for right field. A line drive! The ball drops to the ground between the first baseman and the right fielder. As S. runs toward first base, his teammate runs toward home plate. S. is safe on first!
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When his teammate steps on home plate, his coach shouts, “We won the game!” His team rushes out of the dugout and jumps up and down hugging each other. S. doesn’t understand what just happened. He is so surprised to have hit a ball and to be safe at first his brain doesn’t process anything else. His whole team rushes S. and piles on top of him. L. carries him off the field!. One of his teammate’s grandmother gives S. a ten dollar bill!
I tell you, it’s the stuff of a Julie Andrews movie! Mary Poppins could not have made it any better! So here’s to baseball (books), summer, and sports! (I wonder if she will find a poem about scouting for her next anthology that will make me like it before the announced split?)
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