“You could be a kid for as long as you want when you play baseball.” ~ Cal Ripken, Jr.
Seeing kids play baseball is like reliving your own life when you were a kid. You look at them out there in the grass and it reminds you of something you did during a game a long time ago. (Like dropping the easy fly ball to right. Yup, sometimes the memories are harsh ones.)
But, sometimes you can look at a kid out there in the grass, playing a kid’s game, and you can see the future. Their future.
You can watch a four-year-old kid on the diamond and you can see the game Babe Ruth played nearly 100 years ago. You can see the first game you ever went to. You can see the first ball you ever held in your hand and you can remember exactly how it felt, exactly how it smelled.Embed from Getty Images
Babe Ruth, 1932
You can watch that same four-year-old kid on the mound and you can wonder where his future will take him.
Or, you can invent his future. And, it’s always a good one. And, he never drops the ball.
It was Grant’s birthday when I found him and his dad playing baseball. It was, his dad told me, the only thing he wanted to do on his birthday … play ball. That was a couple years ago. The original post is here.
Grant didn’t know me and he didn’t pay any attention to me. He didn’t pose. He just played.
I haven’t seen him since.
To see a four-year-old love the game is also to see our future. And, there’s still baseball in it. Whew.
In response to the Word Press Daily Post Photo Challenge: Future. See more challenge photos here.
Great stuff. Reading this made me think of my first Little League home run, tagging out the first girl Little Leaguer in Rhode Island trying to steal 3rd base and my one of my first trips to Fenway Park and meeting my idol, Jim Rice in 1976. Thank you.
Thank you, Boston Randy! I love how baseball can stir so many of our own memories … especially when you see a kid out there playing, just all-in, and loving the game that we love, too.
Though I don’t count myself a huge sports fan, strangely enough one of my strongest memories of eighth grade is playing softball with my female classmates. And even before that, I can still see my dad hitting softball pop ups to a group of us kids out in our yard. Baseball will always be with us as long as there are kids and a yard.
I wish I still had my first bat and glove. (Actually my first glove wasn’t even leather, I think it was a plastic vinyl thing … truly, I’m not sure I was able to catch anything in it.)
As much as I love baseball, in my home of South Florida , I would more likely see a 4 year old with a soccer ball today.
My husband said the same thing. When he read this post I said, “I wonder what that kid is doing now?” And, he didn’t miss a beat, saying, “Probably playing soccer.” Ahh well …
Oh this reminded me of a personal first – the new move to a bigger yard that was backed by a creek. Playing baseball in this huge yard and I smacked the ball all the way into the creek – and it sailed on downstream! Home Run in ‘my ballpark’! Came close a few more times but never achieved it again! Thanks for the memory walk! and that is why we love baseball!
Just think … that home run ball may be still traveling! What a sweet memory … thanks for sharing it! :)
Oh, so many memories of my own beginnings of baseball and then my son’s! Whenever I see the little ones out there playing this wonderful game, I can’t help but feel that there is, indeed, hope for the future. I’ve always believed that those who choose to play a sport will fare far better than those who head off into other directions. Just my opinion. :-)
Thanks, Mark … I love how watching a kid play baseball connects us all with memories and our own stories. And, yes, baseball provides such a foundation for life, doesn’t it?
My best memories from my young days all center around my summers playing baseball with friends. It is a “forever” kind of thing!😊
What a beautiful post. I like to imagine the adult players as 4 year olds. I’m sure their parents remember well. :) It goes so fast. One day they are in a tiny pair of elastic waist band pants and the next day they are on the high school mound. :) Love this post. Thanks.
Thanks, Maria! It’s always a good reminder to cherish the moments that go so quickly. And, what a gift to have such great family memories woven together with baseball! :)
Great post! I treasure the days of my kids in tee ball and rookies. Time does fly by, and some of the innocence of the game gets lost. We try to keep it simple and fun, like Grant just playing with his dad. That’s the true beauty of the sport.
Thanks Mike … I’m reading a book now that talks a lot about how the most promising players, as young as 10, get sucked into this rabbit hole of punishing year-round training, overuse, and injury, and I wonder how it must be to be a very talented kid who crosses over that line where baseball loses its carefree joy and becomes just another “industry.” Just having a simple catch with dad is such a wonderful thing, isn’t it? :)
Having watched a few Little League games, I wish parents would remember that it is just a game and that it’s their kids playing it and trying to have fun. Some friends and I back in Minot loved to play the game but didn’t go out for the sponsored leagues. We’d find an open field and bring our bats and gloves. At one time, one of our baseballs lost its horsehide cover and we ended up wrapping the twine and rubber with black electrician’s tape, hardly a regulation baseball, but it lasted until it was launched into a wet construction ditch. It served us well. Thank you for the posting.
I love that visual of kids just playing with a beat-up baseball in an open field … all you need is a little space, one old bat, and a ball that can be held together with twine, right? How cool is that!
I used to love the game, played Little League for years. Gave it up when I moved to California and took up surfing (along with all those California girls the Beach Boys sang about). I like the quote from Cal Ripken, Jr. Get this, when I was in high school, I worked with Cal Ripken, Sr…when he was in the minor leagues, and worked in other fields during the winter. Cal Jr wasn’t even born yet. What about those O’s!!
You worked with Cal, Sr.! Of course, I’m not surprised because you never cease to amaze me with all your travels and adventures and experiences. (And, Bhutan … sigh!) I’m touched that you took time out from your adverturizing to actually read one of my posts. Truly.
O’s went 7-0. That was fun.
BB…I’m back home now, and trying to catch up with not only posting about the trip, but more importantly reading and commenting on other blogs, which I did not do at all while gone. And also have been very poor at for a few weeks…or months now. Bad blogger, bad. But when I get around to it, I really like reading your blog…you’re fun. Are you in Baltimore? An O fan…or what?
“You’re fun” is the nicest thing anyone has said to me since the guy at the baseball game, after a confusing play, turned around, looked at me, and said, “Let’s ask the young lady with the scorecard.”
I’m in Virginia, about three hours away from Baltimore. I fell in love with the O’s when I was living in DC, there were no Nationals, and the Orioles started their season 0-21. If ever a team needed me, it was that one. They won shortly after I announced my decision to make them “my” team, which only proved how well-suited we were for each other. And, I’ve been waiting for a World Series ever since.
Your blog is awesome, badfish. I’m constantly sharing your posts … often sending them to my husband with a note that says, “There. Let’s go there.”
So….you’re like a lucky charm, eh? Cool.
Thanks, glad you like the posts, and share them…very cool…and you should go there!
Great post. I really enjoyed it. I write a lot about baseball. If you have time, come by and visit my site. I would love to hear what you think. Best of luck with your site.
Thanks for stopping by … I look forward to checking out your site and will stop by for a read. :)