I wanted my five-year-old son to experience the joys of beginning baseball, so I signed him up for his first experience playing T-ball. The coach had chosen an all-white uniform with a bright green and turquoise logo, and he had a brand new mitt, shoes, and helmet. Excitement was in the spring air, and he looked fabulous. He even knew how to stand and put his hands on his knees like a real player. Still, the only thing lacking was that he didn't know how to play! So, I took him to his first warm up session at a local park where the coach and his assistants all spent time teaching the little crew of kids how to throw balls and swing bats. I looked on with pride as I watched my son eagerly put his whole heart and soul into throwing and pitching with the other kids. No, he wasn't very good, but he was learning and that was all that mattered. When the coach realized that my son was struggling to catch the balls that were being thrown to him, he took him aside and gave him some personal attention by focusing on him and giving as many pointers as he could Not too long after that, the coach threw a ball directly to my son and it landed...BAM...right on his forehead. Being the mother that I am, I had to stop myself from running around looking for an ice pack and distributing hugs and kisses all over his face. Knowing that this would embarrass him, I instead held back and watched my son as he turned to me and said, "I'm good. I'm a baseball player, Mom, and baseball players are tough!"
It's been over 15 years since that day, and I have to say that baseball has made a difference in our lives. Baseball taught my son how to work with a team, have good sportsmanship, and how to value others. Those years long ago were enriched with our family's association with this great All-American game. We still have the little uniform, albeit with lots of grass stains, in a place where memories are tucked away, but my son and I will always remember with fondness those days and what a difference they made to us.