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Boys, Bats & Baseballs

This is my boy’s first year in baseball. We’ve only had a couple of games because of the lovely South Dakota weather we’ve had this Spring.

Watching these little guys give it their all is awesome. They walk up to the plate swinging the bat, not like ball players, but like jedi warriors with light-sabers, carving giant arcs and S’es out of thin air. The animation is astounding. There are hip swings that are straight out of Elvis, and the bat is not just a bat. It’s a powerful weapon, a tool in which they will pack in all of their 8-year old skills. It’s also the only time mom is going to let them swing a big stick as hard as they can without getting yelled at. It’s their chance to really sock something and they know it.

To them, baseball is only about smacking that ball and getting the other team out. That’s it. Nothing more simple or complicated than that. When there’s already been 3 outs and the inning is over, outfielders race for the dugout while the batter slumps his shoulders, dragging the bad in the dust and leaving a snake-like trail in the dirt. He’s devastated that his chance to knock the ball to the moon has been lost.

The coach yells, ” #5! Your Left-field!” and the boy says, “Ummmmm, I don’t know where that is?”

They make a great catch and suddenly, in their minds, they’ve won the game and must have beaten the socks off the other team. Only after the hitter crosses the plate do they realize that they were supposed to actually do something with that ball in their glove. Dads jump up and down from the other side of the fence, shouting out plays in code to the short-stops who have no idea what the code really means. One boy is busy picking up cool rocks on 2nd base, and another is leaving his position to race across the diamond for the ball. He’s certain he’ll get to it faster and throw it like a marksman to wherever the coach is yelling that it should go.

They have a genuine love for the game, with no idea of the politics or the mechanics. It’s just fun, being a kid without the hassle of worrying about how to grow up, and that’s what is so great about cheering them on.

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