With the start of spring, many minds instantly picture flowers blooming, warmer weather,and the beginning of longer days. For our family, the mental picture that comes to our minds is baseball. It's the season that means treking to the ball field on an almost nightly basis. It means our five-year-old has dirt under his finger nails and in his hair for three months straight from playing on the playground at whatever ball field we might be. It means that we will be eating a lot of PB&J picnic dinners on the bleachers. It means we will go to McCalister's Deli on a regular basis because all five of our kids can eat FREE (it also means that they'll know our family and our order by name by the end of the season). It means I will be spending a lot of money on ring pops to keep the 'O Factor' happy. It means getting home past nine most nights, covered in dirt and sweat. It means washing and scrubbing baseball pants daily. It means my five-year-old, seven-year-old and ten-year-old will play pitch and catch non-stop out in the yard. It means that we will talk over and re-hash every game, play-by-play. We won't talk about anything else. We have a one track mind because it's baseball season.
...Listen closely--I can almost hear it, can't you? It's the music from 'The Rookie' playing in the background...
It’s opening day. Fresh, cut grass feels the air. Boys, young and old, dream about a winning season as they walk from the parking lots with their dads to their first game. With their baseball bags slung over their shoulders and sporting new uniforms, they can't help feeling proud. In fact, it's hard to suppress the grin welling up inside because of the sheer delight over the love they have for the sport. Suppress it, they do, however, because they envision their favorite major league player walking onto the field in all seriousness. Thus, they must compose themselves tall and soberly. After all, one day, they too will be playing for the majors.
Everyone rises for the National Anthem. Baseball players are scattered throughout the many fields, saluting the flag respectively, with hats off. A tear or too trickles down the cheek of more than one parent as they take in the scene before them. Something about the National Anthem and the 'All-American' sport of baseball, coupled with a boy in a uniform, makes one's emotions aroused.
The games begin. Dirt and dust from the in-field encompasses everything and everyone as boys hit the ball and round the bases. Shouts of 'hey, batter, batter!...' and 'Strike!' fill the air, along with some whoops and hollers from the spectators.
Hope is in the air because a new day has dawned. It's baseball season.