Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Thank God for Jeffrey"

Some little boys teethe on baseballs and wooden bats. My son was blessed with animals and big sisters and lots of other things, but despite the fact that baseball was part of the fabric of my childhood, I was late introducing him to it. I don't know why; life seems to run it's own marathon these days.

As a result of that and a 90th percentile body whose brain hasn't yet caught up to it, he's a little behind in his skill level. He also has the "high school syndrome". He was the biggest and best in t-ball, but has moved up a level, and down the totem pole. He'd be at the bottom of that pole were it not for Jeffrey, a young man with great spirit who has really never thrown a ball before this season. Dh, who squirms with me over a missed catch or a thrown ball gone astray, commented, "Thank God for Jeffrey". Jeffrey means that William has company at the bottom.

So, I promised to tell you about the game. It was exciting and very close. All the parents cheered because before our eyes, we could see the bigger boys actually being able to play real ball. The short stop could throw out the batter at first. One boy hit a triple, a real one, not based on bad throws. One little boy who was "playing up" hit in a run and made it to third himself. It was clear that though he probably was only five or six, he could play with the big boys and knew what he had done. It was a joy to see their collective progress.

William made one very good play and got a base hit. Dh and I both looked at each other as the game went into extra innings and we mentally calculated the lineup. We had a runner on base, two outs and we were down one run. "Oh, no!" I said quietly. "Yeah, that's what I was thinking," said dh. These other parents behind us, they were serious about this game. They had once already asked "which son is yours???" and dh laughed and said "the one in the dugout on the bench". But now, now William was up to bat. Last batter, tying run. And....he struck out.

Blissfully, he did not recognize the significance of what had just happened. (Many of the boys do and will cry if they are out or if they make an error.) He smiled and headed back to the dugout. There, the coach sat them down and began to list what each boy had done right during the game, rewarding each with a baseball card. I listened and wondered if he'd mention each boy? And then he got to William. William got a card for his good hit and great play - no mention of the losing strikeout. (As it should be.)

And lastly, the coach talked about Jeffrey. Jeffrey, who made no play and I don't think got any hits, got two baseball cards. Two! You see, the week before, Jeffrey had been up to the plate for practice with the pitching machine. Through an error in alignment, it hit him in the mouth (at 40 mph) and made his lip bleed. At the next scrimmage, he was understandably afraid and backed up from the plate saying, "I can't do this" with tears in his eyes. But at this game, Jeffrey got up to bat. And for his courage, he got two baseball cards. All the parents stood and clapped for him. And for that, I say, Thank God for Jeffrey.

I put a tall fence around the big chicken coop today to let them at some grass. Later while working on Wm's homework with him, Lauren called that Aloha Mo was chasing Travis around the yard. Somehow, he'd escaped and the two were running all over the place. It was easy to catch Aloha. He's lost his privileges.

I've named the white hen Kristen Painter.


Cloudia said...

"life seems to run it's own marathon these days."
and you describe it delightfully!
This was a wonderful post that I enjoyed savoring.

Don;t know about Travis, but I'm honored to have a chicken named after my little book!
Aloha Indeed my dear friend!

Junosmom said...

Well, Cloudia, you need to have a word with "your" chicken. He didn't behave himself - or maybe he was just true to himself (being a chicken and all) which is what you are as well (true to yourself rather, not chicken). Am I confusing, or what?
Aloha back to you!

Cloudia said...

Society is going to a bad place in a hand cart and YET
young people like this continue to come up.
Thanks for giving me hope for the future. Your daughter will be OK!
Aloha to aloha Mo, the ponies, and you humans too!!


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