Although Sister and I didn't end up excelling in softball, I never got the impression that my father was upset or disappointed. We both played until the end of our third or fourth grade year, never entering the "Big Stars" league that followed. Eventually, when I was in college, Dad confided in me that I would have been a decent softball player. I scoffed this suggestion-- pointing out that I was always fourth or fifth in the line-up, and always had to play second base. Then, he pointed out that the "little girls" on my "Little Stars" softball team ended up being: #1. All-American Softball player at Texas A&M, #2. Iowa High School Softball player of the year, #3. Five-year Letter Winner in SHS Softball. Hmmm.... Maybe I could have been decent.
But here's the thing: I was always a little scared of the ball.
And, I knew that once I finished "Little Stars League", I'd never again have to play the game. I'd never have a reason to play, I could always say "no" if I was asked, especially once I was a grown-up. That little white ball hurtling toward me would be a long-distant memory.
Until now. Funny how the Universe gives you what you think you'll never have to do again, even in the form of sports, right? Because right now, I have a little blonde three year old who happens to be obsessed with baseball. And last summer, I was okay with it because he played with a little wiffle ball and plastic bat. But this summer, he's graduated to this:
It's a hand-me-down metal bat, courtesy of some friends in Dubuque. (Thanks Christa)
He thinks he's hot stuff.
He can barely hold the bat because of it's size and weight, and he misses many of the pitches, but he is bound and determined-- sometimes insisting on "free, no-four, no dis many more" pitches-- which really means more pitches until he hits one really good one. It would be one thing if he couldn't hit the ball (like his mother), but honestly, he can sometimes get lucky and whack that thing. Like, line-drive-fashion, right to me. And I'm still scared of the ball and still believe that I'm not that good at this sport. But unlike my previous beliefs, I'm now starting to worry that I might actually have to dig out my glove, strengthen my shoulder, and get out there on the field (or backyard) again. The things you do for love, right?