No…not Wham!…Wake me up before you go-go. Wham! The ball is out of the park! Softball season has arrived once again much to the joy of my son, who played last year, and also my daughter, who is playing for the first time. Each of them has already had one practice and we’ll be out for my son’s first game tonight.
I used to play ball when I was a kid and absolutely loved it. In my late 20′s I also got into playing on a mixed adult slow-pitch team. That was great fun and did it for quite a few years. So, in a city full of soccer kids, I rather delight in my children’s choice in softball instead. Oh, don’t get me wrong! I very much enjoy soccer but the leagues here tend to fill up quickly and cost a pretty penny too. The other thing is that I’m much more knowledgeable about skills in softball than in soccer so I can help my kids to learn.
As I was watching my daughter’s first practice today, a woman in her 60′s passed by walking a dog. She stopped to watch the other little girl on Anna’s team learning to hit. It’s a mixed team but mostly boys and I think the woman delighted in seeing the young girls giving it a go. We struck up a conversation and she told me she lived in the neighbourhood near the diamond and always saw groups of young kids learning to play various sports. She had coached soccer and we marveled together how wonderful it was to see how quickly kids pick up new things and to watch their progression over a season.
Anna came up to practice her batting. The coach gave her some instruction and then came the pitch. Wham! Another pitch. Wham! And another. Wham! “Your daughter’s a natural! I’m actually full of pride right now.” the woman exclaimed and, naturally, I beamed with pride. She’s very athletic, I admitted. “Well, good for her. She’s going to do very well.” I decided immediately that I liked this woman whom I would probably never see again. She had a great spirit. Of course, we’ll play and practice at the same diamond again so she and I may cross paths another day…I hope.
Later that day, as the evening sun glistened through the new spring leaves and cast a magical glow about the park, I watched my son hit a triple at his game. The smile on his face made me very happy. One because it’s satisfying knowing that this was not something I pushed my kids into. They chose the game for themselves and are learning to love it for themselves. And two because I remember how it felt when the ball came in contact with that perfect spot on the bat and it just seemed to fly and I’m glad my kids can experience it too. It’s not something you can ever explain to someone. I guess it’s just another cherished connection between us.
Can you tell I’m looking forward to the rest of the season? Enjoy your “season” whatever it happens to be, sport or otherwise, and making meaningful connections between people.