With boys grown and out of the house, my mind slips back, around the corner....
To those who have dreamed upon the baseball fields, there can be nothing as elegant as the sight of a neatly cropped baseball field, with its white lines tracing a path from the batters box to the green grass of the outfield.
At the tender age of six, my fisrtborn sons addiction began. I was impressed at the valor he displayed while fielding ground balls that were taking wicked hops right at him! I was impressed with the courage he displayed at swinging at a ball thrown mightly in his direction! I was impressed with his energy scampering around the bases with a hard plastic helmet on his head that wobbled like a wounded wing of a bird!
It was my greatest pleasure to be able to coach him and the boys in the neighborhood on this field of dreams. Our abundantly eager appetites to play this game, made Spring the most heavenly season of them all! With each new Spring, new lessons were taught, new strategies were added to our arsenal. Curveballs and sliders were tweaked, pickoff moves precisely tuned, and diving catches perfected as we dreamed of snatching victory from the opposition in their last at bat.
The years rolled along, trophies and team photographs lined our hallway. Our conversations were a mixture of what he learned in school that day and a scouting report of who we were facing in the next game.
We traveled far and wide to meet the competition. It didn't matter where, just as long as there was a team and a field to play on.
The final Spring came, his Senior year in High School. We both knew that it was time to put the glove down and concentrate on a college and a career. My heart sank with the final out of his last game.It was a long and fabulous run. In the salt of tears was the sweetness of the memories that I was blessed with.
A few weeks after that last game,it was time for him to depart for college. The car packed with his belongings,gave me the sinking feeling of an exodous, not the joyful feeling of an adventure. Before we headed onto the highway, I pulled into the complex of ballfields where he played and I coached. I asked him to come out to the mound with me (he was a pitcher). As we headed out to the mound, I began playing a mini highlight reel of the many years we practiced and played there.The countless hours that we spent dreaming, hoping, laughing.
We reached the mound and we both looked around, this time, there was no battle to be fought, no stategy to be executed, just a father and his son. I began telling him how proud I was of him. That it was a joy and an honor to have had such a wonderful front row seat to his "field of dreams". I removed a small jar from my pocket and squatted down. My hand cupped some dirt from the mound. I stood up, removed the lid from the jar, and slowly poured the clay dirt into the jar. I gave the jar a little shake, smiled and said "that does it". Continuing with a baseball sized lump in my throat, "Being your Coach all these years gave me a very distinct advantage. Everytime I felt you about to falter, everytime I felt your disappointment with yourself I could call for time out and walk out to this mound. I could come out here and give you the words of reassurance and blow a little wind beneath your wings to carry you through. While you are in college, I won't have that privilige to call "time out". In this jar, I have collected the sand from every field that you have played and dreamd on. Your dreams are very alive in this jar. Keep this close at hand, let it serve as a reminder to you, of those that love you and will always cheer for you."
He smiled and read the inscription on the jar's label. "Every Spring there was a new season...a chance for us to watch you on your Field Of Dreams....Always dream!"
...............One the true blessings in life, What you can't imagine will happen , most often comes true.