more sweet than bitter
not to get all field of dreamsy on you, but ...
a dad once told his son that he hadn't realized that the last time they played catch would be the last time they played catch, just as he hadn't realized that the last time he sat on dad's lap would be the last time he sat on dad's lap. raising kids is funny that way. savor the ordinary everyday moments as they occur, because when they're gone, they're gone. and then they won't seem ordinary at all.
i attended my lad's very last baseball game this week, painfully aware that it was indeed the very last one. for close to a decade, i've savored baseball on summer nights. it has gotten me out of the office a couple nights per week, to sit in the summer sun with friends and neighbors. i love watching his other events and daughter's basketball games, plays, and performances (i'm currently in negotiations to upload her singing the coolest original song ever), but baseball has always been a great restorative to me.
tor is a fine first baseman, with soft hands, nimble feet, and a looooooong stretch that lets him snare any ball violating u.s. airspace. on occasion, he also hits very looooooong home runs. his coaches and teammates recall the rare but spectacular longballs rocketing over the fence to ricochet off cars in the parking lot. i'll also remember his amiable base-side manner on first, bringing a smile and a laugh to the opposing hitters as they stopped by to visit. my favorite plays, though, were the beautiful defensive gems that saved a game or at least kept a teammate from picking up an error. if one did sneak past him during warmups, he'd try to enlist a young kid to chase it down (i ain't chasin' it).
his play and nature invariably remind minnesota parents of another big, amiable, smooth-fielding first baseman. but now he's even bigger than big herbie and has quite literally outgrown the game. of 16,567 major league baseball players in the baseball archive, only 226 (1 percent) were taller and only 3 were heavier (walter young, jumbo brown, and calvin pickering, for those scoring at home). so maybe he's right that football, wrestling, and rugby are better choices. i'm holding out hope that he'll return to slow-pitch softball, where size, soft hands, and amiability are great virtues.