The ‘Kid’, He Called It

The ‘kid’ called his shot

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?

Steve

October 2021

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

Published by

srbottch

Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

23 thoughts on “The ‘Kid’, He Called It”

    1. Thanks, John. Watching these kids and their dad was fulfilling in many ways. The bonding was fascinating to watch. It happens so quickly and it reminded me of doing stuff with my dad, then later with my own kids. I appreciate your commennn

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Your post brought back a lot of happy memories, Steve. I remember all of the kids in my neighborhood playing endless baseball, football, and basketball games. There was a big vacant lot close by. I had the best childhood.

    Flash forward to becoming a dad myself, and my son and I put our big backyard to good use. Those were such great father/son memories. He used to know all of the players on the Atlanta Braves and pretended he was Chipper Jones, Ron Gant, Ryan Klesko, etc. He slammed the tennis ball or whiffle ball to oblivion. He made so many friends through sports, besides all of the valuable life lessons he learned.

    He participated in all sports, but football was his favorite for ten years (junior high, high school, and college). From playing days, he right went into coaching and is now in his 5th year of that. We’ve been watching his football games (playing or coaching) for each of the last 15 years, and I can’t wait for him to someday pass on his love of sports to his kids.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great memories made through sports, Pete. And he will pass those skills along, with some Grandpa help, of course.

      I think a working class neighborhood may have lent itself to more creative games because we couldn’t afford club memberships. In summer, the collective ‘we’ went through more wiffle balls and pinky balls because of constant game playing. One kid had a decent blacktop yard and a hoop on his barn/garage so his yard was a gathering spot for groups. Then, the Fall gave us ‘rough & tumble’ football games (gang tackle the guy with the ball). Great memories and the greatest were those if fishing, hunting, golfing and bowling with dad. Putting for dimes on the living room rug into drinking glasses was so much fun. Glad you liked the story and I appreciate your comments, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Robbie. Childhood is so different today. Kids don’t seem to be free to walk anywhere unencumbered with thoughts of their own safety and detached from the electronic world.

      Yes, my dad was a common man, a laborer of sorts, a very good provider. He passed away 40 years ago yesterday, the same day our daughter 3. I often ask myself, how would dad handle this.

      Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great way to describe them, ‘earthy’. Nothing phony about them, just went about their work and didn’t draw attention to themselves. As for getting stuck in spam, I hope that’s not a reflection on my writing…😂🙀🥸

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yup, my dad was my hero and role modal. Although I wasn’t into sports, he taught me all about the value of hard work, integrity, fairness and commitment. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of him and ask myself, what would dad do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like another great dad, a wonderful man. Need more if them for too many kids who haven’t experienced a dad like that. We were lucky, weren’t we?

      I appreciate your comment, Darlene. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve, this blog post is extremely touching on so many levels to us! Thank you so very much!

    You’re already the World’s Greatest Neighbor and much more to us. We’re going to add “favorite blogger” to the list now too!

    Jonathan S. Weissman
    Feel free to connect with me:
    https://linkedin.com/in/jonathan-s-weissman-058b649b

    https://instagram.com/cscprof/
    https://youtube.com/user/Weissman52
    https://amazon.com/author/jonathansweissman

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jonathan & Co, it was fun writing the story but more fun watching the real deal. You and Eva are devoted to those ‘sluggers’ and it shows in your daily activities. It’s amazing how their Skills have changed in a year. Now, they hit the ball often and hard. I appreciate your nice comment. Keep up the good work 🥸

      Like

  4. You have a wonderful way with words, Steve. Always have. This takes me back to childhood and to the classroom. Watching children play with pure confidence is a teacher’s delight. Benintendi was right! Too bad he’s not with the Red Sox any more.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s