Thursday, April 23, 2009

Little League

As a young boy, I joined little league, just like most of my friends were doing. It was convenient. The ballpark was so close to our home that we could shoot arrows from our yard and have them land on the infield. With our crossbows, we could shoot arrows all the way across the ballpark. The weeded area where the home run balls got lost, was only two lots away. It was predetermined which team I would be on as my Dad was the coach of the Cardinals and my older brother, Ron, was also on the team.

Ron was tall for his age and very athletic. He was responsible for some of the lost balls in the weeds. I, on the other hand, was the poster child for "little" in Little League. While on the same team, I came up to about Ron's waist. Height was not the only thing I came up short about. My athletic ability was also lacking - in fact, I was afraid of the ball. I just knew that I was going to get hit in the face with a hard baseball. But, I had figured a way for that not to happen - shut my eyes.

While Ron was setting home run records for Show Low little league, I was the bat boy. After a period of time perfecting that talent, I was promoted to keeping the score book for the team. As much as you might think otherwise, this did not bother me a whole lot - it was safe.

Once in awhile, when we were way ahead or way behind, I got into a game. Guess where I played? Yup, right field. Hardly anyone, for some reason, hit to right field and if by chance someone did, I usually was not aware because my eyes would be shut.

I recently wrote about perfect records. Well, while in little league, I had another perfect record or two. As best as I can remember, I never struck out. As best as I can remember, I never did swing at a pitch. My strike zone was so small due to my limited stature, I always walked. No matter how good the pitcher was, they could not get three pitches in that small of a box.

We are not all blessed with the same abilities and talents. That is a good thing. The situations that we deal with, while growing up are some of the things that God uses to mold and shape us into who He wants us to be. I never have been any good at baseball. I still cannot throw a ball into the air and hit it with a bat. Something about that coordination is just not a part of me. I never tried to play football in high school. Again, too small. I was 4'5" when I started high school and even through I grew 12 inches my freshman year, I still wrestled in the 112 pound class as a senior. When you add short+thin+slow+closed eyes, this equals a person who should not be out there being chased by 300 pound monsters.

I found my sports in wrestling, as detailed earlier and in track. Some day I will share my track career and accomplishments.

How do I feel about my lack of ability in sports while growing up? Well, I can remember wishing that I was better, bigger, stronger and faster; but if I had of been all of those things, how would that have changed who I am today. God knew what He was doing in making me just the way I was. That has made me just the way I am. I am blessed and am fine with that. Besides, I was able to live out some of my sports fantasies through my boys. I taught them everything I knew and look how good of athletics they all became. They owe much of their success to me being on the sidelines yelling instructions to them while they were out there playing. I am sure, though they were to shy to actually say so, that their coaches appreciated the extra help.

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