Tuesday, September 13, 2011


When I was a kid, I loved everything about the game-- the dusty orange field, the bases scuffed in with the heel of your shoe, even the schoolyard pick of the players. I loved the line of players that formed behind the backstop; in batting order we crept slowly forward until we were nearly at the right baseline. I loved the call of the pitcher, How do you want it? and the response of the kicker, Slow and bouncy! or Fast and smooth. No one ever wanted it fast and bouncy, although such a delivery might have set up a mighty, mighty kick that soared up and over the infield, defying gravity until at last it arced down and to the ground. Then there might be the solid thump of the soft red rubber ball and that little puff of rust-colored dust into your eyes when you caught it in the cradle you made of your arms and then held on tight to keep it from bouncing away, because you knew it was almost impossible to make a play from way out there, although it was kind of fun to sprint forward and fling that ball directly at the runner just hoping to hear the satisfying thwump of the tag and the chorus proclaiming, You're out!

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