34: The Almost Home Run

34: The Almost Home Run

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Golf and Sport

The Almost Home Run

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

~Hugh Downs

He stepped up to the plate, a tanned, sturdy six-year-old, for his first time at bat, in his first Peewee baseball game. Jeff shouldered the bat, longer than he was tall, with the composure of a seasoned major-league hitter.

The first pitch went wide. The second, too high. When the third pitch headed straight for him, my heart flip-flopped. He swung the bat, connected with a resounding crack and sent the ball sailing over the second baseman’s head.

Flinging the bat to the ground, my son headed for first base, his chunky legs churning. He rounded second, passed third and was almost home when someone yelled, “Jeff, you didn’t touch third base!”

With that, he spun around, heading back to third. But before he got there, the third baseman caught the ball. So Jeff dodged him and ran toward second. The ball beat him there, too. Then, not knowing what else to do, the gutsy little guy started running all over the infield, hunting a safe place to land—halfway to the pitcher’s mound, a sharp left toward first base, back to third. By now the crowd was laughing so hard, they barely heard, “You’re out!”

Talk about no joy in Mudville. I couldn’t even enjoy the rest of the game worrying about how I would console my fledgling Peewee. Was he devastated? Would he refuse to talk about it? Quit baseball forever? And what could I, his athletically challenged mother, possibly do to help?

After the game, I gathered up my plucky little player and his older brother and headed for the car. As we pulled out of the parking lot and started down the road, the boys discussed the game, never mentioning the out. Then, on the verge of delivering my pep talk, I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw Jeff grinning broadly, his blue eyes shining.

“I hit that ball, didn’t I, Mama?”

“Yes, Jeff, you sure did.”

Enough said.

~Nancy J. Knight
Chicken Soup for the Mother and Son Soul

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