While going through a file cabinet to find the scorecard for last week’s Classic Scorecards I found a short essay that I had to write for a English 102 class. I really liked reading it over so thought that I would share it today on the first day of baseball season. I have never been a fantastic writer, but I like how this has held up in a decade and a half.
Reading though this while typing it out I realized that I may have taken some liberties with the facts in order to present a good story to my teacher. Of course what story of your childhood doesn’t have something that may have grown over time? Writing this really makes me want to go and play ball out in the yard again.
“My Field of Dreams”
As a child I had only one love, and that love was baseball. That love was implanted in me by my father. Most of my newborn pictures have either a ball or a bat in them. Once I could grip a bat or hold the ball my playing days began. this is where the story takes place. In my backyard learning to love a sport.
Our backyard was like any other backyard in town, small. It was probably 50′ x 25′. At least today that is small to me. When I was four, it was huge. My dad worked nights, so we could play ball the whole day in the summer. To me this was my big leagues. I would get all dressed up in one of my uniforms and would go outside. Out there the field was like a Major League field. It was so small that my dad had plenty of time to make it the greenest field around. We even had our own rubber bases. It was on this “field” that I learned the basics of a good ballplayer. My dad would pitch to me for hours, teaching me the proper techniques. He would first try to get me to hit the ball, then I learned how to run the bases. Once I could hit the ball, he would never get me out. He would always let me get a home run. I thought that I was the best ballplayer in the world. He would throw me pop ups, ground balls, and line drives, and I would try to catch them.
This continued for the summer. We would play ball every chance we got. He would pitch, and I would run. Then one day he threw the ball and as I swung, the ball jumped off my bat. It flew over my dad’s head, and over the fence into my neighbors yard. I had hit an actual home run! I bet that I didn’t hit the ball for days after this. I would swing at every pitch, and try to send it flying. It was then that my father taught me another lesson. That was that you can’t hit a home run every time at the plate. He taught me tricks to help me keep my eye on the ball. We would pretend that the ball had the face of someone that I didn’t like, and when we did this I would crush it. Soon, the homers were flying out of the yard all of the time. The field that was once so huge had become too small to play in. We would have to find someplace else to play.
I am too old to play baseball in leagues now, but I kind of miss it. I recently went back to my old house, and looked at the once larger than life yard. It seemed so small compared to the yard at our new house. Seeing the yard and remembering the good times we had there made me want to play catch with my father. He can’t throw the ball hard hard or as far as he used to, but that is okay becausee I don’t have the endless energy of a four year old. My father taught me some important lessons on that field. Things that could be applied to life after baseball. But more important than that, we had fun.