Today’s Run: Little League Baseball

There’s a Little League baseball complex less than a mile from my house. When I left for my run this evening, 2 games were being played: One by the real youngsters, just big enough to start pitching to themselves. The other kids were a few years older, just starting to realize the excitement of hitting their first ball into the gap in left-center.

I paused my iPod. Then stopped along the fence in right field to take it in. Two things came to mind.

1. For that brief moment, I missed baseball.

  • I missed putting my uniform on.
  • Rubbing a new ball with dirt.
  • Taking swings into the fence.
  • Chugging the Gatorade after each inning coming off the mound.
  • Taking a lead off first.
  • Meeting my teammates at home plate after they hit their first dinger of the season.
  • Team huddles on the mound during late-inning suspense.
  • The pressure of getting the last out.
  • The 0-2 pitch… and the 3-2 pitch.
  • The family & friends watching from the stands… with expectations.
  • My dad, and coaches, teaching me how to be aggressive.
  • My mom, delivering the ice cold towel in the middle of the summer heat.
  • The 10-run rule… and the extra-inning thrillers.
  • The umpire with the tight strike zone. Thanks for making me better.
  • The hustle plays. Headfirst slides. All-out sprints. Plays at the plate.

2. I looked forward to coaching my son one day.

We’re quite a few years away from this one, but I’ve always been a futuristic thinker.

I looked around at all the parents. I heard the third-base coach — whom I’m sure was a player’s dad — cheering his players on. And I thought, “I would really like to be that cool dad when I grow up.”

Thank you, run, for a wonderful trip down memory lane, and an equally as promising glimpse into the future.