“There’s no town softball league any more!?”
I played softball all through my elementary years. Every Saturday we had games at a large town field complex. Each weekend the fields would fill up with teams; baseball teams, softball teams and the t-ballers, who looked more and more pathetic the older I got. The most glorious part of the complex stood in the center of all the fields, the concession stand! It was constantly flooded with kids, candy and freeze pops. Somewhere there would be a scoop of ice cream melting into the gravel and not far from that the sound of a mother comforting her crying preschooler.
“No, I guess participation gradually went down until they decided not to offer it any more. Sad, huh?”
My Dad coached softball on those fields when my sister played. By the time I was playing he was no longer coaching, but still had lots of advice to pass on. We didn’t practice together a ton times, but when we did, we’d play until the sun went down.
About 4 years ago my husband and our 3 kids moved back to my hometown. To ease the transition of moving we asked my parents if we could move in with them for 6 weeks while my husband pursued an employment opportunity and while we found a place to live.
4 years later, we’re still at my parents house. The job opportunity worked out. We’ve had opportunity to buy our own house, but it was when we had the opportunity to move that we decided to stay. So we’re all here, under one roof and we’re embracing all the aspects of multi-generational living.
I used to love playing softball and now that we’re back in my hometown the thought of my girls getting to make the same memories I did is such a wonderful thought! It would be like giving something beautiful the chance to live for a second time.
But there is no town league anymore?! That is so sad.
In the corner of the garage sits a 5 gallon bucket with softballs, a couple bats and a few gloves. The same balls, bats and gloves that I practiced with. In attempt to re-live some old memories, I pulled them out and announced to everyone (my husband and our now 5 kids) that we’re going to play softball in the backyard. We play a little, at first with full participation, then the younger kids straggle off along with my husband. But the older 2 girls stick around.
We toss the ball back and forth a bit but even I’m getting tired and distracted. It’s time to make dinner and move on with the evening, but I love that the girls are enjoying softball and hate to put an end to it.
Who should round the corner of the backyard but Grandpa. The “retired” softball coach, the one who all those years ago stayed out with me until it was too dark to see.
“Hey girls. Playing softball?”
We played a little more but I handed leadership off to Grandpa so I could get inside to start on dinner. As I walked away I could hear my Dad, “put your glove all the way to the ground, otherwise the ball’s gunna roll right under it.” I chuckled to myself. I had heard that advice from him tons of times, but I hadn’t heard him say it in almost two decades.
As I begin on dinner, I can see the three of them out back. My father in his work clothes, and my two oldest girls. He’s giving the same instructions he gave me, my sister and the many other girls, all those years ago. My kids won’t be able to re-live my town league memories. They won’t experience the great field complex and buzzing concession stand, but they are getting to re-live even better, more important memories.
Why should he only get one round to teach, to instruct and give advice. Just because his kids are grown up shouldn’t mean his chance to pass on wisdom is over!
I don’t know if the field complex gets a second chance, but Grandpa Tom gets one.