God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Green Jackets--At Last!

It seems that Italy has taken a backburner to Casey recently--which is as it should be. Nothing owns our lifes' focus as he does--except the He that has given us these lifes. And so--it is finally time to get around to the Green Jackets.

As you have probably figured out by now--the "Green Jackets" is Casey's Little League team, so named in honor of the Augusta, Georgia minor team affiliated with the San Francisco Giants. The neat thing about being a Green Jacket is that the shirts are adorable, featuring a bee with sun glasses--a great shirt for 7 year olds but I'm not sure about the big guys that are wearing them. They do have personality!

Before going futher, I should tell you my history with Little League. At one point, when parenting at the normal parenting age, we had 4 kids playing at the same time--different teams. Now, if you know anything about Little League, you know that adds up to a minimum of 4 practices a week and 8 games. At that time in my life I was working full time which probably explains how I kept my sanity.

Now for the confession: I was one of those mothers who would pray that my kids' teams wouldn't be champs, and, I had very much mixed feelings about any of them making All-Stars. I wanted the already long seasons to be over and done with so that life could resume. Usually, though, someone had a champion team or made All-Stars.

I remember when all of this came to an end and I felt liberated--no more Little League benches, no more snack stand duty, no more grass stains on white pants, no more juggling dinners with late games, no more Little League, Pony League, Colt League or Bobby Sox, --ever. Saturday had a whole new meaning.

Never say Never--right! We are now into our third season with Casey. And things have not changed at all in the last 20 years--except the parents we now sit with are the children we used to watch play--we have entered a surreal world of twisted deja vu. And--we love it--well, sort of. We are more relaxed now and we have only one team to capture our alligence. Life is easier.

Casey loves to hit and he does it well--low and fast to outfield, usually left. So far this season he is 8 for 9--4 games only as the other 3 have been rained out in sunny San Diego. He has a great arm, throws well--far and controlled. But----he usually doesn't reach his potential at a position as he hasn't developed the reflex of knowing what to do at the right time and while throwing the ball is not a problem, catching it is. Now the coaches and managers are trying the kids out for pitcher as they are moving from the pitching machine to real life throws! This is when things become dangerous and bruises begin to grow exponentially.

Casey would really like to pitch but I'm afraid that he'll be devastated if (when) he hits a team mate. This is a side of him that I love and really don't want to see become hardened--compassion. Last week when one of the younger players was crying because he wasn't getting hits, it was Casey who moved over, put his arm around the shoulder, patted him on the back and told him that it was OK. These are the moments when you want to hug your child and tell him how loved he is!

Casey has a friend, Jacob, on his team. These two have been on the same soccer team for 2 years, the same baseball team for 2 years and the same basketball team for 1 year. Somehow their athletic careers are intertwined, which is quite strange as they don't go to the same school or even live near each other. Fortunately, the boys get along quite well and enjoy each other. It would have been terrible if they had developed a natural antipathy which sometimes happens between growing boys.

Here we are with Jacob at Rubio's after a game--for those of you not familiar with California culture--Rubio's is home to the famous fish taco, a culinary delicacy that helps define those of us living on the border of two great nations.

This picture was taken shortly after the two of them disappeared into the men's room and upon coming out paraded across the room holding out their protective cups for all the word to see. You have to laugh at the openness and innocence of 7 year olds. In another year or two they will die of humiliation if, for some reason, they have to repeat this performance. As it was, they just had the need to rid themselves of a very uncomfortable contraption for which they see no need.

Now we have a two week reprieve--Easter vacation is upon us and families scatter around the country--who knows, maybe the world--and so no practice or games for a while. And--the irony is that I will miss the stands, the cheering, the snack bar and all that Little League means. I await the day it starts again and we can once again watch the "slugger" do his thing. Life is strange and the years change us.

The pictures below follow Casey's three year career.

Diamond Backs............................. Padres................Green Jackets

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At last...very nice essay! My boy told me tonight that Casey was his best friend and that he can't eat Italian because it will remind him of KC.