Nice Catch!

Nice Catch!

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

Nice Catch!

When I do things without any explanation, but just with spontaneity… I can be sure that I am right.

~Federico Fellini

From the moment Kyle heard the loud crack of the Red Sox bat, he was sure the ball was headed over the fence. And he was ready for it. Without ever taking his eyes off the ball, he reached up and pulled it out of the air.

“I caught it!” he yelled to his dad and his grandpa. “And I caught it with my bare hands!”

It was opening day of spring training and they had come out to the ball field to watch the Red Sox play. Kyle’s grandma and grandpa lived near Ft. Myers, Florida, where the Boston Red Sox come in late February to prepare for the season.

Later, on the way home to Grandma’s house, Kyle kept his head down. He tried to think of a way to convince his parents to stay a few more days.

“Wish we could go back to the ballpark tomorrow,” he said. “Maybe I’d catch another ball to put with my Little League trophies and stuff. And maybe I’d even get some autographs.”

“You know that’s not possible, Kyle,” his dad said. “We’re flying out early tomorrow morning.”

“I know, I know,” Kyle said, rolling the baseball around in his hand. “I just thought you and Mom might decide to stay a few more days. We don’t go back to school until Monday, and tomorrow’s only Thursday.”

“We were lucky to get that flight!” his dad said firmly. “The airlines are booked solid this week.”

That night, a huge snowstorm moved into the Northeast. When they arrived at the airport early the next morning, they were told that all flights into Logan Airport in Boston had been cancelled for the day.

On the drive back to his grandparents’ house from the airport, it was obvious to Kyle that his dad was upset. It was definitely not a good time to bring up going back to the Red Sox ball field.

But by the time they were back at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, Kyle’s dad began to joke about the cancelled flight.

“Another day in sunny Florida isn’t so bad,” he said. “I’m in no hurry to get back to Boston, where my car’s probably buried in snow.”

“We could go out to the ball field again,” Grandpa said. “Unless there’s something else you’d rather do.”

“The ballpark’s fine,” Kyle’s dad said with a grin. “I’d never go against the wishes of anyone with so much power over the weather.”

It was mid-afternoon when another loud crack of the Red Sox bat sent a ball flying over the fence. Again, Kyle reached up and caught the baseball in his bare hands.

As he rubbed his fingers around the ball, a small voice from behind him called out, “Nice catch!”

Kyle turned around to see a small boy in a wheelchair. Without a moment of hesitation, Kyle handed him the baseball.

“Here,” he said. “You can have it. I already got one.”

The grin on the boy’s face was a mile wide.

“Thanks,” he said. “I never held a real baseball before.”

Kyle’s dad and his grandpa looked surprised — very surprised.

But they were no more surprised than Kyle was himself. He couldn’t believe what he’d just done. But he wasn’t sorry. He could never forget the happy look on the small boy’s face. It was worth a million baseballs.

“I’m gonna get some autographs,” Kyle said, rushing off to meet the players as they came off the field.

With three Red Sox autographs in hand, Kyle walked back to the parking lot.

“Think the Red Sox will have a good season?” Grandpa asked.

“They looked pretty good today,” Kyle said. Kyle’s dad tapped him on the shoulder.

“You looked pretty good today yourself, son.”

And three avid Red Sox fans left the training grounds, each carrying with him a special feeling of pride. The proudest of all was Kyle.

~Doris Canner

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