“Baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life being played out on a field—a field of dreams—on diamonds of green, where players pursuing their dreams try to be the best they can be on the grandest stage of all—where men become boys and boys become men, all speaking one universal language without uttering a single word.”
― Tom Tatum
It’s that time of year, again, time for the Little League World Series.
I played little league for only one summer, the year I was eleven. It didn’t work out for me because it was also the summer where I hit mid-stride in my puberty and grew so fast that I was so gangly awkward that I had absolutely no coordination whatsoever. Running was difficult, I had a tendency to trip over my own big feet, and if you can’t run straight and fast you pretty much can’t do well in baseball. But I still loved the excitement of playing the game, the comaraderie of my teammates, and the lessons learned about fair play and sportsmanship.
So when my boys got old enough, I got back into it, starting them in T-ball, even coaching or managing their teams as they progressed through the years. And both achieved the success that eluded me, making their league All Star team before going on to play for their high school teams.
I freely admit I lived little league vicariously through them.
And we would watch on tv all the divisional playoffs, both foreign and American, analyze each team and make wagers as to which one from both sides would make it to Williamsport and the final game.
And even though they’re grown and gone on to other things – marriage and career and the like – and don’t follow it anymore, I haven’t missed a year – even watching up to twelve hours a day for the weeks preceding the final game, still analyzing the teams, only now wagering with myself on the outcome.
Curiously, I have no interest in, nor watch, major league baseball. Somehow it lacks the same energy, excitement and fun of boys at play.
Watching little league allows me to replay in my mind all the memories I have of my boy’s years playing.
Watching my boys become men.
And as a man, becoming a boy again.