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I ambled over, Kwik coffee in hand just in time to see Sam field an easy grounder. And in what might have been the final at bat of his organized baseball career, I watched him use his characteristically solid eye when it comes to judging balls and strikes, Joe Mauer like, really, until he finally found something he liked. And then with a smooth, mechanically pure swing fine tuned by a half dozen baseball camps, he connected with a curveball, sending high into the air, opposite field.
A baseball swing for dad to remember
"No, don't say that," he said.
Of all the sports my son has played, baseball has been the one that has resonated with him. And he's Nike Hoodie Cotton
On a 70 degree afternoon I watched that ball sail through the air across the canvas of a perfectly blue sky, then bounce safely in lush green outfield grass between center and right field a trio of Faribault players scrambling awkwardly to get the ball back to the infield. I looked over at No. 17, who had casually trotted down to first and rounded it a little before walking back to stand on the bag.
Harder than I thought, apparently. Having no luck (and a dead iPhone) I pulled in to Kwik Trip where I implored the clerk, "Please sir, I must find my way to my son's baseball game! Can you help me find the middle school?"
First, some context.
Baseball is where my son learned (the hard way) that a strikeout isn't the end of the world it's just an out, one of three that inning, and there will always be another at bat to redeem yourself. He also learned that coming through in the clutch can earn the cheers of his teammates and a well deserved bump in self esteem. Lessons he'll lean on later in life.
Luckily, I saw a pair of youngish teens milling about. I pulled up to them, rolled down my window (now, in retrospect, I realize this scene, if viewed from down the block, had the potential to look drug dealerish if not pedophilish.) Anyway, I asked the pair of grommet eared, cigarette holding teens how to get to the middle school.
Over the years, we've had a lot of good times with baseball. But as he's gotten older, I've noticed the fire that used to burn in his belly for baseball has . well . let's just say there are other things winning the battle for his attention these days. In fact, instead of going through another traumatic tryout for Royals, he opted to not do traveling baseball and has become a member of the Mankato Area 77 Lancers Marching Band.
With that on my mind, my heart started racing. "What if it really is his last game?" I thought to myself. And I immediately came to the conclusion that, if it was, I'd never, ever forgive myself for not being there. For once, I might be able to negate or cancel out or head off the "Marshel Principle, as I've come to call it in my mind. But more on that in a minute.
Awaiting the results of that first traveling team roster was a night I'll never forget. The anxiety: what happens if he doesn't make it? The anticipation: My god, how long are they going to make me wait!? The exhilaration: The pride in my son's face when he told me he'd made it is something I'll never forget, and I actually think about that day often.
But it's true. It might be. And Nike Crop Top
Then we spent four years playing traveling team baseball with the Mankato Royals organization. Tons of memories there. I've got a few thousand photographs from tournaments at gorgeous ballparks in Edina and Bloomington, and hardscrabble parks (ones that look a lot like the fields my friends and I used to play pickup games on at Prosperity Playground) in Blue Earth and Lake Elmo. We met good people and made new friends. Watched some great baseball (and some bad baseball, truth be told.)
But I should probably back up a bit.
"Um . mmmmm . I can try," Nike Sweatshirt For Men he said, and proceeded to give me a set of instructions that would seem right at home in the repair manual for your latest weed whacker. I got back in my car and did my best to replicate the twists and turns called for in his directions, but I ended up behind Wal Mart on a dead end road.
And the kid on the left rattled off the most articulate, clear driving instructions I've ever gotten, and they led me right to the field.
And I remembered the wise words of Mr. Marshel Rossow, one of my mass communications professors at Minnesota State University, who gave me a piece of parenting advice I've never forgotten. He said something along the lines of, "You never know when you've changed your last diaper or tied your kid's shoe for the last time."
So asked my supervisor, the lovely and talented Kathy Vos, if I could cut out early and head to Faribault. She's exceedingly accommodating when it comes to such requests. But I had to get a few things done first: the first draft of an in depth story I'd been working on, time card filled out, future stories lined up.
Having all that done, I was set to go. But first I had to go to the dentist, where the lovely and talented Angie Schuck at North Mankato Family Dentistry replaced an aging filling. Numb faced, I headed out to Faribault thinking I'd be able to find the field quickly. I mean, really, how hard can it be to find something in Faribault?
if it is, that's OK. The time spent at the ball field watching him play has been as perfect as that last base hit. And I just might have beaten the Marshel Principle for once.
On Thursday, my son played what might end up being his final organized baseball game. Is it definitely the end? I don't know. But it could be.
"That might have been his last at bat, like, ever," I said to Tim Schwartz, an all around good dude and fellow baseball dad.
I had to get there.
So, this week, Thursday came and I knew it was the final game of his season, and it might be the end of him playing organized baseball a game my dad loved, a game I love, a game Sam loves. Nike Tech Fleece Crew Sweatshirt
Then, hands on his hips, he looked over at me.
done pretty well. We started off in YMCA T ball, playing games on random grass fields. Next it was on to Mankato Area Youth Baseball, where we had great coaches such as Nick Frentz and Doug Pendergast.
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