Opening Day Memories

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day has all the excitement a new season brings; it’s a fresh beginning, filled with bright hopes. It’s time to believe again. It also reminds me of when my son was little and even though I didn’t see it at the time, as my son was growing up, so was I.

It all started on a side field adjacent to the big kid’s ballpark. As the T-ball stand stood at attention, a dozen excited children attempted to focus on running around the bases in the right direction. Yearly progress brought better skills and higher hopes. A new season meant a chance to prove it again.

Just like boys his age everywhere, Tommy had his favorite MLB idol. Emulating his batting stance, he’d hit hundreds of rocks into the water with a driftwood bat.  Each year he’d practice harder, longer, and get better. Games were won and lost. There were incredible highs and the inevitable lows.

Much like life, baseball isn’t perfect. Both share bad calls, tough luck and favoritism, yet baseball shaped my son’s life and simultaneously shaped mine too. If he could be committed, work hard and play fair, so could I. If baseball gave him enough grief to consider quitting but he stuck to it, then how could I quit things in my own world?

Life lessons were learned on the field. One player could not take all the credit or all the blame in a game, yet in my life, I was quick to take credit and often pointed fingers at others when things didn’t go as planned.

 Tommy spent most of his “career” on his knees as a catcher--no time to rest, no time to daydream, and no time to blink. It had to be exhausting, but if Tommy was learning not to make excuses, what excuse did I have for making my own?

While the catcher doesn’t have comfortable position, the perspective allows him to see the whole game. Sometimes life has me on my knees too. I’ve discovered it’s not a bad place to be if you’re looking for God’s help.
Years have passed and my baseball-loving son has moved on and so have I.  But as Opening Day comes again, those memories come back and remind me that each new season is an opportunity to begin again. Be committed, work hard, play fair. It won’t be a perfect season; it never is, but I’m going to step up to the plate and play ball!

A new generation

(And just in case I need to relearn those lessons, my grandson is now in T-Ball.)

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