Monday, August 04, 2008

Picking up the game

Last May I bought a baseball glove and a ball for Colm as a birthday present. It was premature. He didn't show any interest at all; I'm not sure he even knew what the game was.
Last week he announced that he wanted to play baseball. We fished out his glove; somehow I found mine as well, and we headed out to the street. His new glove was stiff which made it difficult. We were playing with a hardball which made it a little dicey too what with the ball landing on his toes or caroming off his chin. Playing catch seemed a little premature so I tossed him some easy grounders on the street. It was fun and sometimes funny to play with him.

Colm asked me if I played baseball. I said I did. He asked me how high I could throw the ball. I shrugged. He pointed to the power lines overhead.
"Throw it over that and catch it!"
I enjoyed being goaded by my son in this way. I did it. He beamed. We went back to grounders. Colm kept getting further and further away until each ground ball's journey to him took on epic dimensions. At the end of our first baseball practice together, Colm said again, "I wanna be a baseball player."
Tess came out a bit later (she's a late sleeper these days) and said that she wanted to play to. We took our gear down to a nearby softball diamond and improvised a game. I showed them the bases. We ran around them calling out their names "First base! Second base! Third base! Home!"
I improvised a game with them and called it baseball. I pitched; they hit. When one of them hit it he/she ran to first. The next batter stayed at the plate hitting until he/she had moved the base runner all the way around the bases to home - that meant three hits. On the third hit the batter took off for first and so it became the turn of the runner who came home to bat his/her teammate around. Tess and Colm had a blast. They hollered in from second base, "Bring me home!" They swung the bat with an almost religious faith that it would connect with something. The first few times, contact with the ball startled them for an instant. I'd shout, "Run!" and they'd snap back into the moment and dash away. Before going home I got out some tennis balls and hit them some fly balls in the outfield. They stood transfixed by the towering flight of the balls, only running after them when they landed on the ground. All in all a pretty fun intro to the game of baseball.
For the next few days, Colm made a point of getting out his mitt and tossing the ball in the air. Each day he threw it higher and higher, and each day he caught a higher percentage of them. I showed him some fundamentals for fielding a grounder, mostly how to get low, how to slide from side to side, how to get in front of the ball and how the take the ball into your glove, straighten up and throw it back. This morning we went out in the street again. Tess was still sleeping. I watched him doing all the things I'd shown him.

He's a sponge.


Blogger adam jk gallardo said...

I'm trying hard not to anticipate events in Oscar's life. You know, I'm trying to live only for the present and to cherish where we are right now. Having said all of that, oh, my God, I cannot wait until Oscar wants to have a catch with me!

5:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home