Play ball

It’s only natural that I hope my sons turn out like me in a lot of ways, and I’m pleased to say so far, so good on that front. They’re (ahem) bright, witty, thoughtful, and devastatingly handsome. And they love the original Star Trek.

It’s just as natural, I suppose, that I hope my sons will not be like me in certain respects.

For instance, as a boy I disliked team sports, though in summer camp I was often compelled to play softball. I feared the ball; I feared underperforming; and I feared the bees that were my constant companions among the clover in right field. These feelings, and popular stereotypes about (e.g.) obsessive Little League parents, eventually morphed into the conviction that sports were somehow beneath me, and I dedicated myself to the life of the mind. In retrospect I regretted it, of course, belatedly waking up to the benefits of being well-rounded in all ways, physically and mentally.

Over the past few months, Jonah (age 7) has shown the same hesitation about participating in team sports, even ones that his friends enjoy. But yesterday we discovered that our neighbor is the local Little League coach and that it wasn’t too late in the season for Jonah to join in baseball practice that very evening. Andrea pulled Jonah out of his afterschool program early, urging him to try baseball practice at least once. He dragged his feet but agreed. I met them at the field.

I’m thrilled to report that Jonah took to it like a fish to water. He got a warm reception from the coach and the other kids on the team. If the others had been much better than him, that might have queered things right away; but Jonah’s throwing arm is strong, he’s a fast runner, he even shows some hitting ability — and though he can’t catch (I blame myself), neither can any of the other kids!

He was issued his cap and his jersey — number 14. His first game is this Saturday. Go Rockies!

Now I’ve got to get myself a glove and join in practice from time to time. I feel the old anxieties bubbling up. Maybe it took having a son to finally overcome them.

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