He didn’t point, only the great Babe Ruth did that. No, he didn’t point, instead the ‘kid’ just called it, he called the shot.
I witnessed it, and have played it over and over in my mind’s eye. The ‘kid’ called his own shot.
“I’m gonna hit a home run, Steve“, he said with the naive clarity, confidence and high pitch of a young boy. Such Chutzpah.
I can still hear the classic October sound of bat on ball, plastic on plastic. ‘WHOMP’! The ‘kid’ called it and true to his word, the ball flew over the single tall arborvitae behind the pitcher and rolled into the street, a bonafide homer per the arbitrary ground rules set by the ‘pitcher/umpire/announcer’ dad.
Remember a time when we thought we were invincible, and called our own shots, like the ‘kid’. We could climb any tree, win any race, be anything we wanted to be. We had heroes, real and make believe. and at times, we became them.
In the streets, fields, playgrounds and backyards of our neighborhoods, we acted out the persona of those champions, hitting ‘game winning’ home runs, nabbing bad guys, flying rocket ships into space, saving the world. We were young, dreamt big and felt invincible. In our imagination, we’d live forever.
Then, we grew up.
We took our places in the world and became role models, ourselves, maybe heroes. Life changes, doesn’t it, but the process continues. We follow, lead, then get out of the way for the next crop.
Who did you admire? I had a few sport icons and some fictional characters whose style I incorporated in kids games. But as I grew older, I realized that none were bigger than my dad. He shared his enthusiasm for great outdoors, demonstrated a strong work ethic, and quietly set an example of how to be a good person.
I suspect ‘the kid’ and his brother don’t have to look far for their hero. He’s their pitcher and umpire for their front lawn baseball. He’s the arbiter who sets the ground rules, both for the game and their young lives. What more can you ask of a dad?
For the ‘boys (and girls) of Summer’ and the dads who play with them, keep up the good work and remember these days as some of the best.
To Jonathan, Noah & Jacob, Meadowbrook’s ‘Boys of Summer’
“That’s the beautiful thing about baseball. You can be any size and be successful.” – Andrew Benintendi, former player for the Boston Red Sox