Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Best Years

They go fast. One day you are putting the ball on the T and then the next you are driving home from a high school game that is your sons last. In between are a million games played in dusty hot fields with your son while you as the assistant coach get to go along for the ride. And you don't know that much about baseball but nine years later you know it all. Because you have been there all along as your son learns the game and then became good and then became talented and then finds out that talent has limits too.

And you have gone to McDonald's a hundred times. You have gone to Dairy Queen a hundred times but that is all over now. No longer do you savor the games won and lament the games lost. No longer do you discuss the game with the other dad coaches and replay the dramas as you coach first or second or you call the game from the dugout. No longer are you discussing the game driving home in the twilight or better still finding yourself still there in the parking lot with your son talking it over as the sun rims the trees.

Because he has grown up and college is not far away and baseball games are no longer. You no longer have bats and balls and hats and gloves in the back of your car. You no longer have field dust on your shoes and all over your seats. That now belongs to memories. And occasionally you find yourself driving past the old ball fields. They are empty now and it is getting toward winter. And you slow just a little and feel the old tug.

And you know then...those were the best years.

The Pitcher


Books by William Hazelgrove