I was walking through a local park one evening this week with all the beautiful sounds and smells of Spring surrounding me and what did I come upon? A small baseball field full of ten dads and their young sons! I had to count them because there were so many!
As I walked past the field, some of the dads were pitching to the little guys while other dads had the boys forming 2 lines so that they could try their hand at catching. Another set of dads had a T-ball machine set up on separate part of the field, so that another set of boys could learn how to hit the ball.
There were dads calling out to the boys as well as the sound of the ball hitting the glove over and over...practice, practice and more practice. Laughter, laughter and more laughter. Coaching, coaching and more coaching. And, there were Moms on the side-line with babies in carriages and other moms romping in the grass around the field with the toddlers just barely able to walk. It was so fun to watch and I marveled at the activity and the team work being utilized to teach these boys how to play baseball. There were Major League Baseball players in the making.......or perhaps, just little league and high school ball, but nonetheless, boys were being coached by the dads who wanted to be by their side. Dads who wanted to be actively involved in their son's growth and development. And, moms were on the side-lines cheering their boys on. Wow - it was quite a sight to see!
As I observed this welcome site, I had to stop and remember all those times I watched my son, Matt play ball: practices each week, some games played during the week, and many games every weekend. Sometimes there were double-header games during the week or tournaments on the weekends. Rain or shine, they played ball!!! Cool weather or hotter than Texas summers, they played ball!!! It was pure fun!!!
One summer, Matt was pitching and threw 8 strike outs in a row!!! I had to keep asking the other parents: "Is that really Matt???" I was floored at how accomplished Matt had become at pitching. Then, his batting started getting better and better.......When Matt hit his first home run, he waved at me as he ran the bases....it was quite a sight to see!!!
Learning to play baseball was something Matt loved....he never wanted to miss a practice, so that he could improve his game. Dad after dad stepped up to show him and his teammates how to cultivate the talent they saw in each player. I thank every dad and baseball coach who helped my son learn how to play baseball. As a single mom and not a baseball player myself, I had to rely on those special dads to teach Matt. They did an excellent job....they took the time to be there week after week, game after game to mentor the boys and be there for them.
Wow! What a gift that was to observe and take part in....I loved watching Matt play ball and loved going to every game - rain or shine! Hot or cold - it was a blast to be a part of his life all those summers.........I will miss those now that he is 19 almost 20 years old and in college. But, the memories will never fade because other boys keep stepping up to the plate to bat and many young men stand on the pitching mound to pitch every summer at 3&2 baseball fields at Shawnee Mission Park. Other dads step onto the practice field and on the game field to coach, teach and be a part of the lives of these boys.....And as I walk through the park or drive past 3&2 baseball fields each summer, I can watch and remember.......and, I can say: Thank you, Lord for these dads and their boys!!!