It’s a cool summer morning in Chesterfield Missouri we pass BMW after BMW to get to the fields. We have to stop to ask a worker where field number twelve is he tells us to just keep driving and it will be on our right. We look down the long road and wonder how has to mow and water the acres upon acres of grass The parents are just starting to get settled in sitting nervously checking their various apple products. Passing out bottles of unnaturally red sports drinks and talking about how sweet their kids are even though in the background you can hear more curse words than an Eminem song. A few of the moms sitting bored reading trying to get as far away as the drama sessions and bragging as they can. One of them goes,
“Are they even here for their kids or just to brag to each other?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care”
“Yea… mean either”
I hear one of the dads ask if they are allowed to drink beer and a disapproving woman says it is 10 in the morning, Jim… I worry about you.
I am sitting on the bench strapping on my catching helmet, now my chest plate a size too big to make up for my small frame, now the leggings, one of my friends jack sits next to me for a second and tells me how much we are going to lose by, without letting me speak he runs out to left field. The rest jog to their positions on the field and the crowd starts to cheer, moms pretend to put away their phones but instantly take them back out, the pitcher runs out and I follow. A couple warm up pitches and the batter steps up to the plate. The first pitch ends up screaming down the third base line. The batter turns first then second and stops right by third base and smiles at his team. The next boy steps up takes a few strikes and then gets hit on the toe and over reacts and face plants with a very fake scream to make sure the referee gets that he was hit and takes his base, he jogs to first with a bratty smirk moms look worried as makes rude one fingered gestures at the first baseman behind his back.
The parents of the kids on our team sit still, someone’s phone rings and everyone is forced to hear the ABC song and then she goes on to tell the other moms that it has really helped her third child with learning the alphabet. Then steps up a huge left-handed batter his bat stiff in the air his legs bent his eyes trained on the pitcher, moms tell me to scoot to the right and others tell me the reverse. I stay where I am, the pitcher shaking, his curly brown hair coming out from the bottom of his hat. Intimidated he is staring at his feet until the last second and throws the ball to the right, he always loses his control when he is scared. I can never catch a ball if it goes to the right there is something about it that has always bugged me. I dive to catch it but miss and scramble to get the ball suddenly it is in my bare hand I dive back and tag out the runner. I look at my friend Dave the pitcher who somehow ended up on the ground and he smiles as he walks back to the mound. The next two outs came easy two back to back ground outs. The next inning our team scored two runs. The next innings were a perfect game for both teams. We played three more games but did not meddle in the tournament. It was one of the best times I was ever had in a baseball game and I will always remember the ABC song thanks to that mom.