When I was a little girl I did not dream of one day getting married, having a big wedding, a house, a career, or money and hobbies. Nope, I dreamt of one day bringing my son to his very first Little League game.
While stacking the dishwasher one afternoon my four year old son, Landon, said, “Mom, I wanna play baseball.” A laugh bubble swelled up inside me and exploded out of my mouth! “YOU DO!?!?” I excitedly yelled. That was all I needed. I signed him up for T-ball right away.
Landon has always been gifted when it comes to sports. Before he could walk, he could catch a ball. It was an absolute crowd pleaser. By the time he was two years old, he could make baskets in his little tykes basketball net, and bat every ball you threw his way. By three he could hit the balls out of the yard, dribble a basketball, kick a soccer ball out of the park, and catch anything that came his way. Watch out Derek Jeter, there’s a new pro-ball player in town! I have to say that the scene played in my head a few times of hearing the murmur of other moms at T-ball as my son hit ball after ball over the fence. “Who is this child?” and the crowd would cheer as I glowed with a smile and watched my little speedy gonzalez run the bases.
On the day of his very first practice, when I saw him out there on the field, I felt as though I had arrived. It was a moment I had dreamed of. I am not a sports fan, I never watch baseball on TV, but I can’t pass a Little League field without staring in appreciation as these little guys put their heart and soul into the game. I always loved playing with friends when I was little, and I know the joy of running the bases and feeling like you can take on the world.
So there he was, my little 33-pound, 3-foot-3-inch masterpiece, and the coach throws him his first ball. To my surprise Landon purposefully misses, drops his glove, picks up his foot and jumps in circles crying “OUCH OUCH OUCH……. just kidding.” The kids around him start laughing…and in that moment, a clown was born. By the end of the first practice I was pretty sure that the only way I was going to be watching him at Yankee stadium was if they had a pre-game circus act. None the less, despite the fact that he spent the entire first practice eliciting any and every laugh he could, all at the expense of himself, I loved watching him out there.
On the day of his very first game, my husband Matt had concession stand duty, which meant I had Corbin (two years old) duty, so I really didn’t get a chance to watch much. Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of him out on the field throwing his hat and glove, or picking blades of grass, spinning in circles and falling down, walking backward until he tripped over a base, refusing to go into the dugout while the coach pleaded and eventually got him to comply and (much like the other children) really making a Bad News Bears appearance.
Well, lucky for me, Corbin had found a rock to suck on, or maybe it was some old piece of playground candy, I really don’t know what intrigued him so much, but just as Landon went up to bat, Corbin sat down in front of the bleachers and I was able to give my full attention. There he was, my boy, #44, up at the plate! Ever since he turned four years old he has been shocked by all of his capabilities, and whenever he overcomes an obstacle that had rendered him helpless in the past he jumps up and down with excitement yelling “four can, Mom, four can!” So when he was picking out his jersey number he said “Mom, I need to be four so I can play good, no, I need to be two fours, cause four can!” So there, he was little number 44 with his big bobble head helmet up at the plate, and I knew he was going to ham it up, but I didn’t care. It made me so proud to see him there. Don’t ya know, he knocked the stripes off that ball. It soared through the air far into the outfield, and as he ran fast as lightning to first base, I heard the moms behind me begin clapping and cheering as one mom yelled “THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!!!” My smile could have cracked my face in half…even when the next kid hit the ball and ran to first, and Landon refused to run to second and adamantly stayed on first base as two coaches tried to encourage him to move, I still couldn’t get that stupid grin off of my proud face!
So we’re only two games into the first season and already I had to remove him from third base (to avoid causing a puddle on the field), and bribe him with promises of ice cream cones to get him to finish the games, all while shrugging at the coaches as they try to figure out why he needs to pick up the bases when he gets to them or run backwards to home plate. Whatever may come of the season, I had my moment. I heard the crack of the bat, and I saw that ball fly. It was a dream come true. 🙂