Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Opening day at Boyd Field is a celebration that marks the official beginning of the little league baseball season. Balloons suspend all over the park, the players walk in a parade, and the sweet smell of popcorn and hot dogs fill the air. There are speeches of encouragement from the league President. And even a local celebrity, the University of Rhode Island’s baseball coach stops by with some kind words and memories of him playing on the same field the kids are on today. It is a celebration that comes with smiling faces all around. After all, baseball is America's favorite past-time.
Not only is Andrew playing the first game today. But Donovan and Brady are also playing today as well. The t-ballers have a relay race, and Brady has his first game ever played in baseball. The excitement is enthralling.
Donovan is so excited to be playing t-ball this year. It is his first year playing, however he knows the game as if he has been playing for ten years. These four and five year old boys and girls look amazingly adorable in their uniforms. I couldn't help looking at Don and have tears well up in my eyes. My little boy is playing t-ball. I can't believe five years have come and gone this quickly.
As he steps out onto the field with his other team mates to take his place on second base he looks up at me and waves. He is so excited to start his relay that he quickly moves into second position and cuts the line so he can go before the other kids. 3, 2, 1...GO! And they're off. The first child running around the bases from second to third to home to first and back to second seemed never ending. However cute he is, I am waiting for my Donovan to grab that baseball from the first runner so he can have his turn. The boy hands him the ball, and there's Don running as fast as his little legs can take him. Running around the bases and surpassing the boy on the other team who started at home base. "GO DONOVAN," I yell. There he goes passing home and running to first, he's tiring out cause the poor thing trips a bit over his feet. He finally reaches second base, hands the ball to the next runner and yells proudly that he made it. Yay for Donovan, I'm so proud of my littlest boy.
This is Bradys first season playing baseball as well. He is the triple A division with a couple of friends that he goes to school with. As a first time player, he absolutely loves the game. He looks up to his older brother Andrew for inspiration and motivation. Andrew is always helping out at Brady's baseball practices so he can teach him more and learn how to be a better player.
I think Brady took all of Andrew's constructive criticism and ran with it on opening day. Although it is just a game for fun, Brady took it as seriously as if he is playing in the majors with Andrew. Coach Bob places Brady at short stop in the 1st inning. I've never seen this boy as focused as he was when that ball is hit right at him. Ground ball to short, and my short stop charges that ball, throws it to third to make his first out. That's my boy!
Brady is also the second batter up, and since it's the triple A division there's no "real" pitching. They either have a pitching machine, or the coach is the pitcher. First ball thrown, swing and a miss. Oh, no. Second pitch, swing and a miss. I can't watch. I don't want him to be discouraged his first time up at bat. Third pitch is thrown....SMACK! "Run, Brady, Run!" I yell. This boy flies to first base. I can't believe my eyes. I don't think I've ever seen this boy run as fast as he just did. He has it in him, that athletic gene that is meant to be shown. And shown it shall be.
For being such an anxious person, Andrew really tries not to show it on the field. I know how he feels. That poor boy gets stomach aches, the shakes, and tachycardia. But, I believe in him like no other. He has the determination and drive that I've never had. And he makes me want to face my fears and go out there and do what I know I can do but am just too scared/nervous to do, or even try. Whether it be trying a piece of shrimp, or running a marathon. He brings out the best in me and gives me the strength to want to face my fears. Although, I am most likely to train and run a marathon before a piece of shellfish goes anywhere near my mouth.
Good luck to all the players this year! Remember it's just a game. Have fun, and try your best.