After winning back to back games on Thursday, Small Fry's baseball team was positioned to compete for their division championship. In the giddy moments that followed their second win of the night, the Sprout and I walked up onto the field so that she could run the bases and work out some energy. She had longed to be where brother was all season after being held captive in the dugout for fourteen innings. You think you know what your kids face. After all, I'm the grown-up and the parent, I've already slogged through childhood and lived to tell about it. But when I stepped into the brilliant glare of home plate and looked across the yawning stretch of dirt and grass to the flickering back fence in the outfield, I had but one thought....
.... jesus, I had no idea first base was a million miles away.
In that moment I was extra proud of my Fry for a season of climbing into that harsh light, isolated from teammates and parents, and swinging at the ball with everything he had. To me the distance to first base was unnerving, but Small Fry had never seemed phased by it. Was this because he believed that this time the bat would make contact, this time he would make it to first base before the ball did.....no matter how many times he'd missed in the past? Did he believe better than a grown-up could?
Small Fry says "you just go up there and watch for the ball and then you try to hit it, then you try to run really fast. That's how you do it mommy."
Two days later on a sweltering Saturday morning, the Orioles clinched their championship with a final score of 10-8. One of the points belonged to Small Fry who dashed across home plate to start a points rally that would bring his team from behind to take the lead in the 3rd inning. In the beginning of the season we parents had contributed $10 each to buy our boys a "participation medal." None of the 4, 5, and 6 year olds on our team had ever played baseball before. A championship - and the trophy that came with it - seemed well out of reach, we only hoped for a fun few months in the sun and a positive learning experience. However, not only were they in reach, one by one twelve gleaming, gold and red trophies, emblazoned with the heady word "champions" were handed to our dusty, grinning team. Small Fry hugged his to his chest and said "see Mommy if you hit the ball once you get the biggest trophy ever!"