I was a baseball star.
Actually, I wasn't a very good baseball player, but my last year of Little League, I had an advantage. I was one of the youngest guys in my grade. I also, for some reason, hit my adolescent growth spurt early. My last year of Little League, I was just about the biggest kid out there. (Never mind that, when we lined up by height for High School Graduation, I was about 2/3 of the way toward the short end!)
Being a bit bigger than the other kids had its advantages. The pitches that tied me up in knots in previous years became somewhat easy to handle.
Our hometown baseball field at the time didn't have an outfield fence. The only way to hit a home run was to find a gap in the outfield and circle the bases faster than outfielder threw the ball back in. That was the setting the day I came up to bat with the bases loaded.
I was just a kid. I may or may not have realized the significance of runners at every base. I don't remember whether we were behind, tied or already ahead. I don't fully remember who the pitcher was, which team we were playing. I think I barely remember where I hit the ball, but I did.
And I ran. And ran. And made sure I touched every base -- I had learned from previous mistakes.
And scored just behind the three teammates I drove it.
I want to tell you why I remember. It wasn't the excitement of the crowd or my coach or the other players on the Rainbow Yankees. It's because I went to the refreshment stand just outside the chicken wire fence surrounding our field. And my dad was there.
Dad got up very early every morning and headed out to the corrals with my mom to milk cows and take care of livestock. He left for work a little after 7:30 a.m. and frequently didn't get off until close to 7 p.m. (sometimes later). He volunteered in many ways at church, often going straight from work to a meeting. I can think of many nights that he didn't arrive at home until after we were in bed. Right after I left for college, he lamented that he wished he had spent more time with me.
He rarely got away for one of my games. But that night he was there.
"You hit a Grand Slam!" he said. "Yeah, with the bases loaded!" I exclaimed, not understanding the term.
I have never forgotten that moment.
Yesterday, while the nation was busily counting votes, Cathy and I were watching the rapid rise in followers of The One Minute Writer. Yesterday, it was named as Blogger Blog of Note for the day. The One Minute Writer is a unique blog idea by our daughter Beth, who started it for fun because she enjoys her other blog C. Beth Blog so much.
Beth, I wanted you to know how proud I am of you. You're a wife, mommy to two preschoolers and the blogger who inspired me to get out off the sidelines and start writing. Watching you grow brings me great joy.
AND, you hit a Grand Slam!