Drooling on the Pillow

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A League of Her Own 

Had my first catch of the year with Grace last evening and it was a revelation.

She was in the instructional league of Roberto Clemente last year and did very well playing third base for the Yankees. Her coach was the same guy who coaches her soccer team, a friend with a kid in the same grade. Great coach. He takes it very seriously and pushes the kids while never raising his voice or making anybody feel bad. He's the only coach I've seen in either little league or soccer who stresses conditioning and the practices are always organized and broken down in small groups to work on fundamentals. His teams always win just because they're the most prepared and often the only ones who know what they're doing. It was as good a first education as a kid could get in baseball.

The Roberto Clemente league doesn't allow girls to play with the boys after age eight. Some leagues do, some don't. So Grace was supposed to move up to girls softball this year. Due to some organizational confusion that didn't happen so she's back in instructional for the summer. That's okay with me as she would have been playing with eleven year olds in softball.

She was eager to get going so off we went to the back yard. I tossed her the ball and told her to take it easy.

"Okay" she said and wound up.


I took off my glove, looked at my red, stinging palm and looked at her.

She hasn't picked up a ball since last summer and she certainly couldn't do that last year. We tossed for half an hour; grounders, pop-ups and mostly soft, easy throws. Every once in awhile, though, she would let one loose.


Just the natural progression of seven months' growth while, in my mind, she was the same player she was last summer. Her motion looked like a ball players. Suddenly she knew how to turn her glove to the ball and where did this footwork come from? Lane was watching from the kitchen window with her jaw wide open.

Sometimes it's so hard to be happy that she's growing and changing. It's thrilling to see her achieve new things all the time and I'm so proud of the accomplishments she seems to take for granted.

But it's just going too goddam fast.
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