I love seeing the flowers bloom and the trees budding. Of the four seasons, spring is my favorite. This spring my 5-year-old granddaughter and my 6-year-old grandson are playing ball. Last year soccer, this year soft ball. Softball I can relate too. I had two daughters in softball when they were younger. I remember the times when my husband and I would have to each take a daughter when they would have practice at the same time at two different locations. More than once I sat on the top of the bleachers, straddled sideways watching both play at the same time. Soon my youngest moved up onto the team with her sister. That made life easier with practices, games and tournaments.
Recently I had a deja vu moment when I had to go to a morning game in Ooltewah to watch my granddaughter, run back to Cleveland for an afternoon game at the Dixie Fields to see my grandson and then back to Ooltewah for an evening game my granddaughter was in again. Even with the running back and forth, the sunburn and the frustration from looking for a parking place, I loved it. The feelings I had when my daughters were young all came flooding back. I got excited when my grandson or granddaughter hit the ball just like I did when my girls played.
My granddaughter has been in tournaments, in her first tournament her team won 1st place. Not bad for these little girls who are still only babies. I've watched them gradually learning what to do on the ball field and it's amazing. They start out barely knowing where to run and now they are starting to catch the ball, throw it to the bases and hit the ball past the pitcher instead of fouling. They are called the Harrison Liberties from Harrison, TN.
My grandson's team is called the Reds. They have scrimmages where the score isn't taken yet. His team is also coming along great. You could see the excitement in their little faces out on the field as they ran to get the runners out before touching a base, or when it was their turn to bat.
What is really cute with these 5 and 6 year olds is the fact they still seem at the baby stage but you can tell they are maturing. They are so small their uniforms are bagging on them, their little legs seem hardly big enough to carry them around the field with the batting hat bouncing over their eyes. When they start to tire it shows. They will hunker down to be ready for the ball, next thing you know they are swirling their gloves in the dirt. Their attention span is still easily lost but their innocence is still intact. Even when they lose they come off the field after congratulating the other team and they are excitedly screaming and smiling as if they won. It's still just a playtime for them and not a competition.
At one game recently evidence of the baby in them came out in a little girl on the opposing team. She started to cry on first base as if her little heart was breaking and she wouldn't turn the coach (apparently her mother) loose. The coach pitching swapped places with the first base coach but when the batter hit the ball she wouldn't run. Of course, that was an out, the 3rd out. And the coach had to carry her off the field. Another time 2 of the right field players on that same opposing team got into a tug of war over the ball right on the 3rd base/home line and one of the Liberty girls ran right past them to home. Hilariously, they were totally oblivious to anything but who was going to be the one to hold the ball. Our girls ended up losing that game by 1 run because time ran out and they were getting tired.
Last year soccer, this year softball. What next year? Who knows what next year will hold? I'm sure if I have a breath, I'll be there watching.
On a little different note--last months article made mention of a possible war. Now we know the outcome. We went to war, we won the war, and now we are coming home from the war---hooray for President Bush. I pray now for the families that lost loved ones in Iraq, pray for the health of the injured, pray for the recovery of the missing and pray for the Iraqi to become a happy, conscientious country now that the evil twisted dictator has been dethroned.
Isn't life in a free world wonderful?