Slugger

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Yesterday was a weird day for me.  There’s a lot going on and I’m not writing about it, but suffice to say I feel stressed a good portion of my waking hours, and I don’t sleep, so there are more waking hours than I’d like.  Most of the stress is of the worry variety, one way or another, though there is, finally, some good stress in there too.  I’ll explain some of this eventually, maybe.

Anyway, late afternoon Bill took the kids to City Park for a little baseball practice.  The season is starting next month for Alex, and he’s got tryouts coming up.  The league he belongs to has all the kids his age tryout so it can be determined whether or not the are ready to progress to the Majors or need to stay in the Minors one more year.

Encouragement

The boys on my son's baseball team range far and wide in everything from age, to height, to ability.  Some of the boys have played t-ball prior to this, others haven't.  For some, this is their second or third year in this league, others played t-ball last year and are working their way up the little league ladder.

There are several boys around Alex's height and build.  One in particular, a kid I'll call Tall Boy II, is so similar to Alex that when then they're in uniform, and you see them from a distance, and you don't see the number on the backs of their jerseys, and they're wearing their caps, not helmets, and when the brim of the cap casts their little faces in shadow, and they both have relatively short hair…sometimes it's easy to mistake one for the other for a moment.

In Your Face

So, last Saturday, this happened.

And then there came this most recent Saturday.

Alex's game was in the morning, which is nice because then the game is over and we have the rest of the day to do whatever needs doing.  So we got there and Bill and Alex went into the outfield with their gloves so Alex could practice catching fly balls.

Each Saturday morning, before the games start, the Rookie league kids have skills tests – each week a different skill is tested, and at the end of the season the team with the most improved skills wins a prize of some sort.  So this week the skill is catching fly balls with two hands on the glove. 

Balls and Strikes

This past Saturday morning I helped my father out photographing a 5K road race sponsored by the hospital in my home town (where I was born, and both my kids), and after that I zipped home in time to see the last half hour or so of Alex's little league game. 

I joined Bill and Julia where they were sitting, and Bill told me Alex was 2 for 2 so far and should be up again soon.  I let Julia take pictures with my camera…told Bill how things went with the race and my picture-taking…and Bill mentioned that he didn't think Alex was wearing his cup.  He'd told Alex to get it, but didn't know if he had.  And he didn't check.

Red Sox vs. Orioles, Fenway Park, July 25th, 2009

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Before I even say anything else, I have to say THANK YOU to my brother-in-law, Ray, who got us tickets to the game, and THANK YOU to Joe (our nephew) and Emily (his fiance and our soon-to-be honest-to-goodness-real-relative) for taking Alex and Julia FOR THE NIGHT so Bill and I could have FREEDOM and FOOD and FUN and FENWAY all for ourselves.

So we dropped the kids off with Emily in the early afternoon (and the kids were just as happy to be away from us – "Sleepover!  Without Mom and Dad!") and hit the road. 

Pawsox Game and Fireworks

When I was in Junior High, there was a math teacher, Mrs. Smith, who was tiny and smart and tough.  She had a steely voice, steel-gray hair, and a no-nonsense, no fooling around attitude, tempered with a sense of humor that she allowed to peek out from behind her stern facade every now and then.  During class, when we'd work on problems out loud and she'd call on us for answers, if someone gave a very wrong answer, she'd kind of roll her eyes and tilt her head back a bit, like she was reeling from the awful wrongness of that student's attempted answer.  And she'd say, in that grim, steely voice "Ah, you're way out in Pawtucket!"  I went to school in the southern part of Rhode Island, and Pawtucket lies northeast of Providence, far, far from us.  (Relatively speaking.  It's Rhode Island, after all, and nothing is really THAT far from anything else.)  But that was her way of telling you just how VERY wrong you were.  So far off that you were way out in Pawtucket. 

And that's where the family and I were the other day.  Way out in Pawtucket.