Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Night the Games Began

I don't know why I was absorbed in the enormity of the night. It was huge. I mean, I'm talkin' ginormous. I'm still in shock by how it took me over with its sheer significance. I realize how some parents would be all like, "whatever, it's one more thing on the 'shit to do list' ". But as I was driving down to the boys' first T-ball practice (EVER) I was slapped in the face with the reality of the fact that this is the first of THOUSANDS of practices and games to come. I mean we are at the starting line, the very beginning, and we're looking up the mountain.

I couldn't help but picture the cleats.

And uniforms.

And baseball caps. And baseball gloves. And baseballs. And soccer balls. And shin guards. And hockey gear. And maybe lacrosse sticks. And oh shit, that means cups. And jock straps. And what if they wrestle, then they need head gear and lots of steak and maybe they'll get elephant ears.

And coaches. And teammates. And mandatory meetings. And team dinners.

And practices. And games. And away games. Like, far away.

And then I saw their smiles. Even though they didn't know what they were doing.

And then I saw that they were together. Even though they were fighting over the ball.

And then I saw how they instinctively knew how to hold their gloves up to block the sun.

And how they knew how to instinctively screw around in the field.

And jerk off while waiting to bat.

And then came the whiffing.

And the lesson.

And more whiffing.

And finally some contact.

And then it hit home for me. The big leagues. Paul Bunyan and me in box seats. Front row, third base line. Our 1,003rd game. Me with my pop corn. Paul Bunyan with his peanuts. And the general din of the crowd behind us. Some of them wearing jerseys with one of our son's number on it. Maybe, too, our gigantic long last name. And me remembering this first T-ball night. Telling it to Paul Bunyan in chopped sequences. But he can barely hear me. But I tell him the sun was starting to set. How I was embarrassed, at first, that I hadn't taught my boys how to throw or catch yet. The way Timmy held onto to his little sack because he needed to pee. And despite this, how he learned to hit the ball without being able to see it from under his helmet. The fear in watching Auggie get hit with a fly ball in the chest and the deep holding of my breath to see if he would shake it off, or come flying to me with tears under his cap. The pride in seeing him try try again. And then, also too, the next morning...hearing them both ask if there was T-ball practice again tonight. And my excitement that maybe they were hooked.

I'll never forget this night- the night the games began.


  1. Let the fun begin!!! I see Hussy out there coaching at some point :o) Great pics and good times, can't wait to hear how things develop!

  2. How could they hit the ball? The helmets were in their eyes. Great pics. You will have to hear Char's little league story sometime.

  3. oh i love this post. ok, that's nothing unusual - but this one makes me smile everywhere. just last night i was cleaning some of the desk and i found a picture of me in my little league uniform. smiling. even though i was shier than a mouse, and the little boys thought i had cooties, and my parents had to drive me way across town because the local league wouldn't let girls play.... i absolutely loved every second of it. i'll save the story for another day.

    enjoy the mountain climb - and we'll see you in 20 at Fenway (or Citizens Bank Park!) with our jersies on.

  4. three cheers for your parents. you'll pay them back some day, I'm sure.

  5. I seem to remember coaching a certain softball player who could hit just fine! The apple can't fall to far from teh tree.

  6. I bunted just fine, Coach Rob, I never hit real fine. And I stole bases real fine, too. And now my children steal my money real fine. :)