Parks & Rec Ball

Not Little League. That had tryouts and only kids who could actually play got on those teams. I didn’t even know those kids. Parks & Rec Ball. They took all comers, formed teams, had a town league. There were 4 fields scattered around town, and a roster of games through the season. Dads coached, and we all played like we cared, because we did. Even those of us who were lousy at such things as hitting and fielding cared.

The teams had uniforms, names, and sponsors. Games were in the evening, after supper a couple of times a week during the summer. I would put on my uniform, sling my glove over the handlebars, and ride out to whichever field we were scheduled to play at. The games were seven innings long. I would play the outfield not unlike the kid in the Peter, Paul, and Mary song.
It didn’t matter what position I played. I loved baseball. I can look back and remember those games, the way the grass looked as the day faded, the big clouds in the midwestern sky. The feeling of turning on a pitch and hitting it over the second baseman’s head.

When the game was over, we all rode to the Dairy Queen. The coach bought a Mr. Misty for everyone on the team if we won. If not, you were on your own. He only paid for winning, and he was happy to tell you so, if you were brave enough to ask. I’d bicycle home, usually as it was getting dark. It wasn’t unusual, we rode bikes everywhere and we played baseball. It’s what boys did in America.

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.
–Dave Barry


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