Never too old

I helped with my son’s baseball practice over the weekend. I may have learned more than he did. The coach focused almost entirely on defense and the rules, and I learned more in half an hour than I have in years. Obviously being an American does not mean you are born with a genetic understanding of baseball. It’s taken me 43 years to finally understand when you have to tag the runner and when you can simply touch the base.

And of course, as is often the case, the more I understand about something the more I appreciate the abilities of those who play the game. Circumstances can change in an instant, bringing new rules into play, and they have to not only know how that can happen, but be paying attention to know when it has. Baseball can seem like such a slow game to the viewer, and yet fortunes can change in a flash. It only looks slow. Even during–perhaps even especially during–the times when there isn’t much going on there is actually a lot going on. I’ve written about this before.

There’s certainly more thinking going on than the uneducated might suspect. And moments of courage. I got to be a base-runner during the practice as the coach ran specific scenarios over and over. I did a lot of running to third with the ball being hit right to the shortstop. I had no choice. I had to run and hope for the best. I felt reasonably safe in assuming the shortstop wouldn’t have control of the ball before I passed by him, but he could still throw to the third baseman–with me in the way, helmet-less, and much taller then either of them. I managed to not get beaned.

I have to admit I wish I could go back a few years (and then some) and play baseball on a team for a season. I think I’d be able to enjoy it now.

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2 Responses to Never too old

  1. Baseball is a magical sport. It cast a siren song over me when I was young, and i have never fully escaped. sadly, there are so many who do not get it, and who never will. I feel sorry for those who fail to understand “The Natural”.

    • Thom says:

      As a parent I appreciate what it does for my kids–well, one kid in particular. There’s not been many things he’s been interested in that require practice to improve. But baseball has been great for him. He was able to do well enough to begin with to enjoy playing, but he’s been able to see that when he practices he gets better. I don’t care if he never goes pro or even quits next year; if he’s having fun and is learning discipline I’m happy.

      But there’s no denying it’s been a learning experience for me, too.

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