Dead End Field
Hanging out at my ten year olds double header today I realized that there truly is something to be said about the “Proud to be an American” feeling that baseball brings. No matter where it is being played, or at what level – it is something that evokes feelings unlike any other sport or activity. But especially at the “little league age” when the innocence of the sport still exists, where boys are just being boys. Hearing the crack of the bat, seeing the kids hanging on the fence in the dugout, the boys in baseball ready position, and one of my all time favorites – rally caps. It’s a moment that you take a breath and say “ah yes – life is good, really really good.” Is there anything cooler than seeing a kid hit a homerun and having everyone in the dugout run out to cheer them on as they cross over home plate? And it’s not even just on the field – it’s everywhere around the baseball park. It’s the brothers and sisters that have started up their own game of backyard baseball with sticks for bases, and the little little brothers and sisters that are content playing in the dirt, making new friends and spending their day in the sun eating snacks during the two hour games with the occasional cheer for their older brothers. For me it’s a two hour time where we get to hang out with new and old friends, cheer on our boys, and forget about the stresses of daily life. I think my love for baseball started when I was very very young – back at Dead End Field.
I grew up on the greatest street in the entire world – Winterburn Rd. There were about 15-20 of us – all close enough to sort of play together – generally we had our groups of friends sort out by age but when it came to a good game of Ghost in the Graveyard on summer nights, or piling into the Ringenbergs old blue Buick for rides to school in the middle of winter – age didn’t matter. Our older brothers played baseball and one summer they made a baseball field at the end of our street which was a dead end at the time – so naturally it was called “Dead End Field.” They worked so hard to make that field – they mowed it out like it needed to be – they even built benches for their dug outs. And then played many, many games of baseball there – it didn’t matter how good or bad you were at baseball – Dead End Field was for everyone. It was everything that I wish for my kids now – realizing the reward of hard work and working together as a team, accepting everyone for who they are, and creating friendships and memories that last a lifetime and beyond.
So go to a game this summer – and remember what it was like to be ten years old again – where the only thing that mattered – was your friends and baseball.