The familiar smell of leather and dirt is like an old friend when I pull the glove out of my bag. It feels like forever since I have thrown the ball around. It some ways it has been. When I was in high school, throwing a baseball was a daily occurrence from mid-March through June. Since then, I have played catch here and there but not nearly to the extent I did back in the day.
To anyone not paying attention, this past weekend was hot. Scorching hot, like summer is supposed to be. Some people cry about the heat, but I relish it. I remember playing baseball in this kind of weather when I was a kid. It was always the best time to play. I felt more energized in the heat. Adults worried about staying cool and staying hydrated. “Drink before you’re thirsty,” they would say. Eh, those are grown up thoughts, when you are a kid you just want to play.
Back then, the best days for me, were when I got to be behind the plate. With all that catcher’s gear on, it was like being in a little furnace, but I loved it. Sweat dripped off my forehead and onto my lips, salty sweet. With every pitch, the pop of my catchers mitt would emit a cloud of dust and the dirt would cake to my face. I loved it though. I felt like a warrior.
In those moments you are just enjoying the game. You don’t realize the lifelong memories you are making. You are worried about the runner on first looking to steal second, or whether the next pitch is going to be a curveball when you are facing an 0-2 count. You aren’t thinking that 10-15 years down the road you will miss taking the field, getting covered in dirt or just playing catch. Those are grown up thoughts.
As a kid, you just want to play. That time on the field is more important than anything else. There aren’t the grown up things to distract you. There’s just the game.
So, when I put on the glove this weekend to go throw the ball with my dad, it was like stepping back to a simpler time. A time when the only thing that mattered was if we were getting ice cream after a win.
Yea, it was hot this past weekend, but for me it was cool to get to throw the ball again.