Tonight I took Max to baseball practice. Right now, with Max and Raphi both having practice and games, we have something baseball to do five days a week. That works out to roughly seventeen bazillionty hundred hours of baseball a day. Plus pitching practice in the park.
Usually it's Clay who does baseball practice duty, but tonight it was me, bravely toting my folding chair across the grass and planting myself beside the ball field with a sweating bottle of ice water. OH, the things I do for this family. Raphael ran and hooted in the park behind me and I watched my middle boy play.
Max has always enjoyed baseball. Or soccer. Whatever. Toss a ball to him and he will take it and go, amiable enough. Toss a video game to him, and that's fine too. But this year it's different.
He's pitching this year, and all I can say about that is that he's not terrible. For the first year of player pitch "not terrible" is plenty for me. Actually, he's pretty good. He's a solid hitter too. When he's not pitching he likes to play catcher, and he does a good job at that too.
I'm not saying he's a star, don't get me wrong. We have a star on our team, a boy whose natural athleticism makes people gasp sometimes, as he makes dramatic diving catches or hits the ball way over everyone's heads. No, Max isn't in that category, but he's got something this year that I've never seen before.
He wants it.
During practice, when the coach tells him to come in to practice hitting, he flat out sprints, rather than the easy jog the rest of the players do. When he's catching he scrambles after balls, jumping up or diving in all the weight of the pads and mask. In the outfield he watches and hustles after the ball, backing up his teammates, racing out to get under a pop fly, sprinting to be in the right place for the almighty play. And when he pitches the rest of the world disappears.
I know what this sounds like - the rantings of a proud mother.
So? Wanna make something of it?
Tonight I watched him practice, playing his heart out on that ball field, and I got it for once. I understood just a glimmer of the passion baseball inspires in people. As I stared across the sunlit grass, a shadow sailed toward me and I flinched, thinking a ball was zooming toward me. But I looked up to see a bird, instead, black against the bright blue of the sky.
I just took me a moment to adjust and realize...
...I was seeing something taking flight.
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