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 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 anyway...how 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.