Play at the Plate

Among my favorite images of the very brief summers here in the northeast is a baseball in flight, it’s seams rotating against the mid-afternoon sky. That sky is almost a deep, indigo blue, and at times you can see the moon. Barely visible, like a lunar “fog,” but still there. From the proper angle, the ping of an aluminum baseball bat is followed by that ball cutting through dense, humid air, flying past the moon, giving the illusion of a little league rocket ship to the stars.

It is quite a visual, easy to get wrapped up in, easy to momentarily forget the origin of the flying ball: the boy, who has hit the ball, now running toward a makeshift first base. The ball, still in its rotational glory, starts its descent, as the boy makes it easily to first, taking a wide turn at the base.

Landing in the grass, the ball rolls through the thick green blades, slowing to a stop along the fence line of our backyard. By the time I sprint to the fence to pick it up, the boy – with legs churning, navy blue batting helmet wobbling on his head – has rounded second base, headed for third.

I know if I bobble the ball, I have no shot. He will score the run.

I pick up the ball cleanly, and plant my left foot in the grass to start running. His foot touches third base, and he knows he is only a few feet away from another sure score. My speed picks up. I race through the yard, ball in hand. He starts to giggle because he knows I’m close. Only a few feet away.

I stretch out my arm with the ball to apply the tag. Laughter gets louder. He races inches past me, but he has not touched home plate. There is no umpire. Arm at full extension, I reach the ball out….

The best things in life are free. The best memories you make are sometimes the smallest.

There is nothing more important than your family and friends, the people you love.

One thought on “Play at the Plate

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