Baseball is pure joy in my life. It is standing while the Boy is at practice, watching him play catch, or go through drills, seeing the look of pure happiness on his face. There is something zen about the act of ball flying to glove to glove to glove, muscles and memory taking over from the conscious mind, there is something that is made out of sheer happiness in the act of watching this conversation of leather and tendons, aluminum, sinews and skill.
I stood there today, out in a breezy field watching the Boy standing on the mound throwing that ball and for a moment there life felt perfect. Everything was how it should be. Everything was right in this world. Everything was working right. The wind and the scent of the salty sea in the air, the grass and the shouts of male voices encouraging, playing rough, playing hard and fair and doing their best. It was the male of the species at the peak of their loveliness: innocence, competition, physicality, and gentle good humor. I felt like a good humored Auntie, yelling good eye, good eye! Clapping good effort. Encouraging, and commiserating with a very sweet young man who was bemoaning the fact his mask was causing blackheads from hades. This is the kind of male company I enjoy. Easy funny company, earnestly competitive. Baseball brings out the best in our boys. All males playing ball turn into boys, it melts years off them, encourages that playful sweetness.
Open your core! Get over that front foot! These encouraging directives melt into a comforting rap. My feet ached standing there, I should have bought a scarf, I forgot my sunglasses, but still there was nowhere I would have rather been today. Nowhere.
The phone calls bringing bad news, the interesting trip up to the training ground with a driver who appeared to be taking the opportunity to audition for the Cannonball Run whilst simultaneously driving a SF taxi, the fact I have still not located my glasses, the scary bathrooms which I gave up on entirely (listen guys, I am the one who just needs to pee, use the single cubicles instead of making it impossible for women to be out the house for a long time due to lack of bathrooms), the cold wind and the foggy chill could not take away the happiness.
We walked most of the way home, Boy chatting happily, the day fading into late afternoon, stopping for a bag of oranges and some figs, heading back into the shelter to watch the Yankees play the Rays. The boy sat next to me, and put his head on my shoulder, “thanks for a great day, ma,” he said, as Gio Urshela whacked one into the seats.
To be honest, it is me who should be thanking him.