He's only 12 years old, and I'm no math wizard, but I'm guessing that's close to one-fourth my age. So it amazes me that I feel as if I've been sitting on the sidelines of Little League baseball games for eons of years plus forever and a day. I have to be honest and say I have loved it, except for those post-season games when it was hotter than blazes. Those were the days when I wondered why my sons couldn't have become interested in an indoor sport. The vision of watching a glitter-specked bowling ball rolling towards the tenth pin and watching the X's line up on the score card as an air conditioned breeze gently blew my hair would then be halted by a trickle of sweat running down the back of my neck.
Of course, I could blame his big brother. Kevin, my youngest, has a natural love for basketball and anything on wheels. He also has always wanted to play football, but he's a stick, so I wouldn't allow it. Basketball is an indoor sport, but brother James' love of baseball outweighed everything else, and eventually rubbed off on Kevin.
This was our last year to play Little League, as Kevin will be too old in two weeks. It's been a season different from the others, as almost all of the star players were 12 last year, meaning they were gone this year. To put it bluntly, the team "operated in a vacuum." That left Kevin and one of his friends as the only players who could actually throw, catch and hit the ball. It was good in that the worse the team played, the better Kevin looked. I was beginning to think he was going to be the youngest player signed on with MLB any moment. But for some reason, I am slightly biased.
Fortunately, we survived the season without bruising our pride too much. And he didn't make the pros, but he did make All-Stars.
No longer tired of watching ballgames, I found myself getting a little sentimental as I realized Little League was ending. In fact, I regretted that I had missed too many games this season due to conflicts in my schedule.
And before you get fed-up, too, hang on. Here comes the point I've been taking too long to arrive at - two weeks ago, on a Saturday evening at an area tournament, I sat on the sidelines as my baby (sorry, Kev) walked up to the batters' box. When the count was 1-1, my lefty swung the bat and took off running. The ball sailed over the right fielder's head and then continued sailing. Yes folks, it was a homerun. And I was there to see it. I know many boys have accomplished this feat, but for us it was a first.
For Kevin, it was a ball to place on his trophy shelf and something to smile about when no one else is looking. For me, it was something else to tuck away in my mother-heart-memory-bank. I know longer mourn the passing phase. It had a perfect ending.