Bottom of the 9th, #48 – My Baseball Family

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Bottom of the 9th - My Baseball Family

My Baseball Family

by Mitch Weide; Valor Senior

I have been playing baseball all my life. I still remember and laugh at myself about the first day I met my coach and I choked through sobs (because I was cripplingly shy at the time), “Hi, my name is Mitchel, and I want to be a Marlin.† My first team was named for the Florida Marlins. Despite the tears and outward emotion I was showing, I loved the game. I had some connection with the game itself. It wasn’t natural talent, it wasn’t because of success, it was something deeper and intangible. There it was, every time I entered that batters box or took my spot on the field. The sport and my team – it was like my family.  Actually, no ... it was my family. The sport and that group of guys grew up together. My love for the game grew deeper and my family grew bigger. From tee-ball, to coach pitch, to kid pitch, I developed this passion for a game that found its home in failure. Somehow I took comfort in being on that field. Despite the summer heat, and the muddy games from pouring rain, despite the embarrassment of getting out or dropping a ball, I loved the game. I loved the family it gave me. I played with many of the same guys from tee-ball until we left for high school and then some. It wasn’t just something to do in the summers, it was my summers. I looked forward to spring time when the days started getting longer, because I knew it was time to pick teams again, and the excitement of finding out who is back and what uniform we are gong to wear this year kept me going while school was winding down. Practices would soon start and it was like a giant family reunion. My dad coached, my brother coached, my best friends’ dads coached, my mom helped schedule everything and keep everyone posted. It was like getting together for Thanksgiving. The spring nights turned to cool summer evening practices.I can still take you to every little league park I played at; because there is something special about your little league field that nobody can take away, no matter how old you get. It was my sandlot – it was my families’ sandlot. We had a lot of good ball players. Many of us would have been successful on more competitive teams, but there was something about our team that everybody loved. We stuck together. We never lost sight of why we played the game. We played for the love of the game. No one was out to impress anyone. No scouts were invited to see us play. No one competed against a teammate. We loved it! The feeling of hitting the ball. The sound of a ball hitting the glove. Throwing someone out. We were little boys, playing the best game ever. We had each others’ backs and we never let our brothers down. Those little league seasons are some of my cherished memories – my summer family.

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is, when brothers dwell in unity.†  Psalms 133:1

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