A Baseball Free Agent

Some of my favorite baseball movies have characters with funny superstitions and odd things they do for good luck before a big game. Major League. Bull Durham.

My nine year old wants to play baseball, but doesn’t have a team. As a free agent, he therefore had to participate in a two-hour try-out so that all the coaches could see his skill level and then spread the free agents out across the league in a way that makes the teams fair.

That morning when I walked into his room, he was wearing a pair of camouflage underwear that is way too small.

“I think it’s time to throw those away.”

He looked aghast, “But they’re my lucky underwear. I have to wear them to tryouts.”

When he came downstairs ready to go, he smiled, pointing to the different parts of his wardrobe. Lucky. Lucky. Lucky. He was decked out in his lucky Kansas City Chiefs socks, his lucky necklace that he made in art class, his lucky baseball cap, and of course, his lucky underwear.

And then he went out and had a really fun time playing ball. “I maybe could have played better,” he said at the end of the day, “but it was good enough for me.”

He may not make it into the Majors, but he would be a much-loved character in a baseball movie.

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Three Guys, Three Styles on Halloween

They are brothers, and so far, great friends. But they are nothing alike in their approach to life. It shows even in their trick-or-treating.

The youngest knew what he wanted to be weeks before Halloween and stuck to his guns (literally, as a soldier). He ran from house to house, hit as many as possible in warp speed, then was ready for home, thrilled to just sit at the kitchen counter and eat Skittles. Done before dark.

Our middle child went off with his friends, but remained goal-oriented. He stopped at home for a bigger bag. He stayed out the latest of the three until, mission completed, he had to shift his candy from shoulder to shoulder, the weight of it all too great for the skinny guy in a skeleton costume.

Our oldest child walked with his friends too, but slowly, conversing like three old men. They debated certain houses. They skipped plenty, as if candy was not the evening’s goal. My son, the headless horseman, waited half-way up the walk at each stop until the door opened, as if the distance was too great without a definite reward. Then the slow walk to the next house, talking, talking, talking. And suddenly, his bag barely half-full, “I’m soooo tired”, he headed home.

What is Old is New Again

Remember those old photos of families sitting around a radio listening to world news? Boys, now grandfathers and great grandfathers, waiting to hear the score of the Yankees game or the next episode of Gunsmoke, imagining the scenes in their heads?

Technology has brought us so far!

Or has it?

Today, I walked past my sons huddled around the laptop on my desk watching the numbers change in the Falcons-Texans game, because it’s not being televised.

“It’s a touchdown!” Cheering erupted when the Falcons’ 7 changed to 13.

…Not even a sound from the screen.

Signature Jewelry

In first grade, my son’s class could earn plastic coins for good behavior. Then on Fridays, they could spend their coins – while doing math to figure out their change – on a plethora of plastic toys. He brought home super bouncy balls, spider rings at Halloween, spinning tops, Christmas pencils, erasers and more.

Nearly all of it quickly snuck its way into the trash… except for one prize.

It was early last fall when he came home with it. A black rope necklace with a small baseball. The kind of toy that every kid loses. That always brakes in the first week.

Not on his watch.

He wears his baseball necklace to bed every night. He brings it on vacations. He wears it to school. Takes it off just before jumping into the pool. It is a lucky charm in soccer games and lacrosse. For spelling tests too.

The few days he didn’t wear it during the last year, he got in trouble or had his feelings hurt. He blames it on forgetting his necklace.

A seven-year-old boy with a signature piece of jewelry that totally works for him. That is the kind of important thing a mom might forget when he grows up.

Modesty at Six and Three-Quarters

“You look handsome,” I said on Picture Day.

“I know,” he said.

“You’re Mommy’s awesome helper!”

“Yep.”

“Good reading!”

“I know.”

“Great soccer game. You played hard!”

“But I’m better at baseball. I’m probably going to play in the MLB.”

He doesn’t dwell. He doesn’t brag. He just hasn’t learned to doubt himself. Oh, to save that for later when he will need confidence and swagger.

Baseball and the Basement Band

My six year old is a busy guy. After a quick homework drawing to represent, “we are painting 2 red birds”, he convinced me to pitch baseballs to him, so he can practice hitting before his kindergarten team starts practice in a few weeks.

Still in February, our three innings were played in freezing temperatures, me the only one wearing a jacket. So we came inside to warm up.

The discordant sounds of his brothers practicing their instruments drifted up the basement stairs, and he took off, shouting over his shoulder, “I gotta go to band practice!”

Seconds later, his bleating vuvuzela drowned out Piano Man by our eleven year old pianist and Seven Nation Army simultaneously picked by our ten year old on his electric guitar.

I was later informed that they are working together on a fusion of pop, hip-hop and rock n’ roll.

But he really wants to play drums.

Baseball’s Opening Day Tradition

One of my favorite springtime traditions is Opening Day at Coors Field. As a mom, it is a real getaway-kind-of-treat. As a wife, it is fun to be the one who gets to celebrate baseball and gloat. As a friend, a whole day together is a treasure. As a baseball fan, though, I barely watch the game. There is almost too much excitement to focus.

This year’s Opening Day for the Rockies was especially fun. The weather was amazing. Our favorite players hit well. The Rockies won. But what stood out for me, and what I wrote about, was something that happened before the first up-at-bat. Something that unsettled the crowd…

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-opening-day-fly-by-12086008.html