It’s the old “American Favorite”, right up there with “apple pie” and “Chevrolet!” (I left out hot dogs because I try to avoid those traps of ill-health) In professional circles and small rural communities alike, April is the start of a new baseball season. Kids everywhere are donning ball caps, cleats and gloves to head out onto a diamond-shaped field (or, empty parking lot, if needed!) to join in pickup games or organized teams that will occupy their time through Spring and most of summer.
One of my sons used to step outside, each year, sometime in late March, inhale deeply, smile and say, “Aaaaaaaaah. I smell baseball!” I used to wonder what “baseball” smelled like; that is, until I learned to allow myself to see the world through the eyes of a child. Now, I know! I get it! In fact, I smell it, too!
Being blessed with what many people consider a “large” family, I often hear jokes about how my husband and I can have our own baseball team. Funny, but also true! We’ve built memories to last a lifetime through hours of backyard ball, laughing and playing with our kids. Countless spring evenings have been spent in our field, plopping down jackets or pieces of cardboard as bases, pacing off space in between and doing our best to obtain victory over the “other” team. Winners choose dinner! Or, winners get to name the movie for the next movie night! It may not sound like much to those who prefer more luxurious hobbies, but to us—it’s a lifelong treasure.
Ever heard that kids keep you young at heart? It’s true!
Kids are silly, yet wise, and kind by nature. They are eager to learn, achieve and excel. They are determined, motivated and fun to be around. We grownups tend to lose some of these attributes as we enter midlife. Life’s struggles, work and hard-learned lessons get us down. We grow weary under the strains of the mundane. If we’re not careful, we might fall into a rut that is difficult to escape, and before we know it, become “down on life.”
An easy way to avoid that trap is to play baseball with kids! It’s free exercise, fun and challenging (ever try to outrun a 12-year-old?) and forges memories that are there for the taking when times get tough.
No one need be a “Roberto Clemente” or “Francisco Cervelli” to have a good time playing ball. If you want to get in shape, lighten your spirit, and teach kids about life (teamwork, personal ambition, striving to reach your greatest potential and learning to meet a challenge head-on) then baseball is your game.
If you have physical limitations that keep you from actually playing baseball, head to a local field (after investing in those delightful portable seat cushions!) and spend a few evenings a week watching the kids in your community play. Help out at the concession stand. Wave a team flag, ring a cowbell, and treat yourself to some cheese fries (ok, not too many because that would not be healthy). The point is, play ball! You’ll be glad you did!
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.