Earlier this week Katie and I had the chance to take the boys up to the Washington Nationals' stadium to attend a clinic put on by the Nationals' coaching staff. I've already written about the great time we had and what a joy it was to watch the boys experience the day, but I heard a song this week that had me thinking a little deeper about our trip.
Before I get to the song, I'll tell you about a conversation Katie and I had on the way home from the stadium. Katie made the comment that she was surprised at how well some of the much older coaches interacted with the kids. They're used to dealing with young men, and in some cases not so young men, she said. She wondered how they adapted their instruction so quickly for an audience of young boys.
I explained to her there is something magical about baseball I don't think you find in other sports. I bet those coaches all remember the adult or adults who tossed a baseball with them and first got them interested in the game, I told her. Baseball players seem to remain children of the game much longer than athletes in other sports. Some luckily do so through their entire careers. I told her that's why the coaches and the managers all wear the same uniforms that the players wear. It keeps them part of the game. It keeps them a kid.
I was reminded that simple games can often be a part of the ingredients of lifelong bonds and relationships.
I also couldn't help but think about my high school friend Shawn who had posted on Facebook earlier in the day about sending her son off to the Air Force Academy. She was very open about how sad she was, yet at the same time very proud of all her son has accomplished and supportive of all he'll do. It was a timely reminder of just how blessed I was to be in a big league ballpark tossing a ball with my kids. It made me grateful for every day ahead that offers the chance to put on our caps and gloves and play toss in the yard. The days that someday our boys will look back on. Maybe they'll be forever kids on a big league team. Maybe not. But I bet they'll gladly share the magic they've inherited of a truly special game with some other kid. Their own kid, maybe.
Me, I'll probably be like my friend Shawn. Longing for one more day of tossing the ball in the front yard. One more little league game. One more moment with the innocence of a child that puts the magic in baseball - and life.
So I heard this song. It perfectly captures how cool it is to share baseball with the boys, and how much I know I'll one day long for those days back. Enjoy the video.