Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Field of Dreams

I was a damn good short-stop when I was young. Playing the position was one of the few things I've done in life where I said, "This is me. This is who I am." But I'd put away the hardball for 30 years until last weekend at my foster son's baseball association day.

For the batting contest, the dads take the field while the boys hit. Like a guest making sure he gets the last piece of pie, I guiltily make sure I get to short-stop position before the other dads.

The boys hit. We catch. Nothing comes to me. Still, it's fun. Then a lad smashes me a grounder. Of its own volition, my body charges forward. For that 1 second, once again, as in olden days, I am the ball. I'm so happy I actually laugh aloud as I run. The ball makes a nice bounce into my glove and again, without thinking, I jump into the thrower's stance -- feet wide, elbow toward my target, and ball held back and high with a 4-seam grip. I actually have to restrain myself from firing the ball back to the pitcher.

My body relaxes in the lazy after-pitch of a baseball player. I feel like I'm back to when I didn't have to shave. I'm a chrysalis a short time away from breaking through the cocoon to become whatever I'll be.


Sheer. Joy.