The Cubs played a double header on Thursday night to determine tournament standing and today they played at 9:00 a.m. Which means batting practice at 8:00 a.m. Which means I drove to the city at 7:00 a.m. to pick him up from the home of his bff and bring him back here to warm up.
His godmother traveled up for the big game. And I was so happy to see her that I jumped up to give her a big hug and knocked her large coffee to the ground – not sparing her clothes or the bleachers.
I might have turned around and driven home if somebody had done that to me, but she’s such a good person and devoted godmother that she stayed. And when the Cubs won the 9:00 game, she stayed for the 11:00 game.
By the end of the second game, she was calling those boys by name and she could tell the twins apart by their numbers and she knew which players were the coaches’ kids. We cheered up a storm. Then we took our all-star rookie out for pizza and she gave him a ride back to the city to get in another 24 hours with his best friend.
And I took a nap.
Three months ago, my son didn’t know any more than the very basics of baseball. 3 strikes, 3 outs, what a home run means. Now he’s talking about RBI’s and sacrificial bunts and decoding the batting coach’s sign language. He steals bases every chance he gets. He isn’t just talking about RBI’s and home runs, he’s producing them. He is fully engaged in the game. He loves his coaches and works hard to please them, and they can tell.
His teammates have told their parents how proud they are of Wade’s progress as a player. He’s now looking forward to middle school because the twins will be there. They have already warned him about the eighth graders.
During the second game on Thursday night, another mom suggested that I take my younger two home since it was after 9:00 and said that she would bring Wade when the game was over.
I don’t know how we could have a better spring than we have had playing baseball. Wade (and the rest of us) have been accepted as members of a team in a town we moved to six months ago without knowing a soul except the man who hired me and the realtor I found online. One of my coffee shop friends suggested that I sign Wade up for baseball and told me how to effect a late registration since I had (of course) missed the deadline.
So we walked into the season not having any idea what to expect. I have not been disappointed. It has been good in every possible way.
When I see those coaches tend to their players, correcting them, cheering them on, telling Wade for twentieth time: “if you swing, you’re running!” when he hits and then looks up to see where the ball went. For a boy growing up without a dad in the house, the eight hours a week of man-attention-time is so welcomed and so essential. And then to see that time and attention and training pay off in the last weekend of a full season is a wonderful reward.
They may not win the championship game tomorrow, but when Wade got up out of the booth in the pizza joint and showed his godmother and me how he’s learned to hold the bat and swing it just so, and he’s more enthusiastic than embarrassed and he doesn’t even notice that he’s not on the field – that he’s actually in public, in the middle of a crowded restaurant – then I know that we’ve gotten our money’s worth.