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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Great Moments

I used to watch baseball with my Grandpa as a kid.

He showed me the art of baseball on tv because it truly is an art and my uncle showed me how to play it.

I had a pretty good arm.

When I played baseball in the fifth grade, there were enough girls who wanted to play that we made up an entire team and we played the boys' teams. We were pretty badass and we played well. We even beat the boys.

I learned young that girls can do anything and be anything and baseball represented that to me. I played little league throughout middle school and was often the only girl on the team but I fit right in.

When I got to high school, I tried out for the boys baseball team (didn't make it -- was it my skills? or because I was a girl? I'll never know.) But I settled for softball and still loved the hell out of the game and I loved it because of the great moments.

Baseball is all about the great moments.

I've played in some capacity ever since high school in rec leagues and great moments never cease to amaze me and they make me fall in love with the game over and over again. Because in softball or any other sports there are great moments that seem as if they have floated down out of the sky as if they are a gift and they are unexplainable.

Someone overcoming great odds at a critical moment. Momentous comebacks in the 9th inning where all those people who left the game early are kicking themselves for missing. Amazing, impossible plays.

I put softball on hold the past few months while training for Miami Man and Disney because I didn't want to get hurt but a few weeks ago I decided to play for a season, just one, and oh, how I missed it.

It was so nice to see everyone's faces again and smell the fresh dirt and the softball air because it's truly a different sort of air that hovers over the fields. There's just something about the combination of the grass and the clay that makes me stand at the edge of the field and breathe in deeply and allow it to envelope me. It brings back so many memories.

And I remembered one of the greatest moments ever when I first started playing in this particular rec league (yes there are even great moments in "recreational" softball) and getting to know everyone. I walked on to a team of people I didn't know (the league placed me there). It was about the time when I was just coming out of my shell after having my second baby and I was starting to slim down just a little and get my self confidence back, enough to walk on to a random team and play again.

I ended up playing with this team for the next year and a half, season after season, and after my second season where I was just barely getting to know everyone, we were down by 2 and time was running out and we were in our last inning.

We had two outs, we were in our last up at bat, of course all of this the very scenario where so many great moments are born. And lost. Because baseball too is about heartbreak.

One of our great girls, the team captain, was up. She had two strikes on her and then in one sweep, she hit the crap out of the ball out to right center, I mean this was a hit, I might even have to use the word "epic" here because it was, and I don't use that word. It went straight out over the right center fielder's head and back into the corner of the field and she rounded the base and made it an in-the-park homerun and it was unbelieveable.

She flew around the bases and we greeted her at the plate because she just won the game and it was one of those great moments.

She was crying.

The big fat crocodile tears kind of crying.

I mean, last inning, two outs, down by two and an in-the-park-homerun!

HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? It was amazing.

A couple weeks later after a few more games, we were recanting her amazing hit. She told me the ironic thing about that hit was that her father had just passed.

I realized that hit, that moment, was even sweeter than the amazing moment it was on its own. A culmination of sadness brought out by simultaneous elation that is not even about the game or a hit, but something so much greater: life.

I love great moments in this game.

I love great moments in life.

What are yours?

1 comment:

AnnG said...

Great story!! I think one of my greatest moments came just last month when I got to run a 5K with my 20 year old son! He supported me, stayed back with me and encouraged me. After I had run just over 22 minutes NON-STOP for the FIRST TIME EVER he told me "I knew you could do it"!! I didn't really think I could but he believed in me and that meant the world to me!! Maybe I did do something right raising him, huh?!!

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