I’ve been mentioning for weeks that I might write this post, so anyone very close to me has heard the title words straight from my mouth. The deal is this, we are currently a family without a sport. We have always done baseball this time of year. Sometimes between my three sons we have had five baseball teams at once. We were at the baseball field in town most nights of the week and on baseball fields all over Missouri on the weekends. Every baseball season it would take me a couple weeks to remember where the heck my life went. “Didn’t I used to write occasionally?” “Why do we have inside furniture at all?” I don’t hate baseball. I said this every year as I collapsed into bed at night, sunburned and finally showered free from the gritty feeling of field dust all over my body and occasionally in my teeth. “There’s just so much of it.”
This year, the only one of our boys left in the sport, decided he was done. I wonder if baseball is for everyone but organized baseball is not. I sometimes watched baseball dads lose their cool over a 9-year-old throwing too soft to first or that same child watching third strike (without swinging, God forbid) and wondered if sandlot kids back in the day ever wished for this.
For their own reasons and I think some of the reasons below, my boys are not on a roster this year. And the question we get asked, always with a hint of sarcasm because it’s not like people don’t have some idea of life outside of baseball, is this: What are you going to do? In no particular order, I have some thoughts on that:
Still get a tan, but now on a boat or by the pool
Read books without sweating on them
Stay home and know for certain – instead of hoping – in 100-degree weather and 100% humidity, the bathrooms are definitely air-conditioned. So is the living room.
Play baseball in the yard – super short line-up, extra strikes, and occasional cheating in favor of the little guys
Write a book
Toss a football
Take long drives that don’t go anywhere
Watch for shooting stars
And occasionally spectate
I have already driven by more than one baseball field and felt almost unbearable longing. I even wrote that line about the sunburn and the field dust with much more nostalgia than relief. It’s a great sport and it belongs to summer and boys belong to it. I hope we watch games and play catch and and hit a few in the yard. But wonder what to do without having to drive white pants through a car wash between games 1 and 2, I will not. There was a whole lot of summer around the edges of our previous baseball schedules, and we’re looking forward to all the things we’re going to do within it.
P.S. I got the news yesterday that I have NO suspicion for recurrence. Celebration cake – that’s another thing we’re going to do.
P.P.S. Dear awesome dad who has ever coached one of my sons in baseball: I am deeply grateful for the time you spent, the life lessons so inherent to this game, and every single inning – good or bad.