By Nelson Warley
I must confess to being a bit misty-eyed at the start of the little league baseball season. This is not normal for me. The life of a sports parent usually consists of driving from practice to practice with the main aim of not forgetting some child in the carpool. Sitting down, reflecting on the passage of time, and getting emotional in the process is a rarity. But this is my son’s last year in little league.
When he was four, he couldn’t wait to start playing T-ball. That his older sister also decided to play was icing on the cake. We showed up for the first practice on a cold, March morning to a team without a coach. I knew next to nothing about baseball, but jumped in and decided to give it a go. My mom had passed away a couple of months earlier, and I found that herding preschoolers into specific positions in the infield was a necessary respite from the grieving process. A good laugh could help too…
Driving home from his first game, I could see in my rearview mirror that he was a little down. He had thoroughly enjoyed playing that day, so I was confused.
“Ellis, did you have fun today?”
“Yeah, I did—but, but where were all the fans?!”
His only exposure to baseball before that day was a Philadelphia Phillies game. He just assumed attendance for his T-ball would rival a double-header at Citizens Bank Park.Eight years, and thousands of innings later, here we are. The slow, relaxed pace of baseball is unlike any other sport I know. An anachronism to our busy, overly scheduled lives. So today my wife and I will bring our large tumblers of coffee, open up our chairs beyond the outfield fence, catch up on the past week, and then turn to each other and wonder how the heck it’s been eight years since that T-ball season. I must resist all urges to think about our family’s life eight years from now. Instead, just play ball! Run by run, inning by inning.