On January 4, 2018, I didn’t know what I was doing. On the date of my 21st wedding anniversary, my wife, Jamie, returned to school where she works as a teacher. I drove my daughters to their school and, during lunch, I planned to play catch with a friend celebrating three years of remission from leukemia.
And that is how Catch 365 started.
Since the publication of the book, I’ve had others ask me for permission to attempt the Catch 365 challenge, as if my permission means anything. I cheer them on as best as I can, even though we’ve been unable to connect for catch. The beauty of Catch 365 is simply this: Anyone can play catch, any time, anywhere. As the art-modified banner says on my wall of gloves, “Play – Catch – All Day.”
Once again, it’s January 4. My wife is, again, back at school teaching. My daughter drove me to her school, where she parked the car and went inside and I had to switch from the passenger’s to the driver’s seat. This time, I know what I want to do. I just don’t exactly know how (or if) it’s all going to come together. I hope that, by putting my idea down in writing, the One who played all things into being might open doors of serendipity and surprise.
The idea looks something like this.
The Catching Hope Tour — encouraging the next generation of ballplayers during the day, sharing stories of what I learned through the year of playing catch at night.
On Father’s Day 2021, on the first day of National Play Catch Week, the Catching Hope Tour will(?!) kick off in Kansas City. The proposed itinerary is:
Possible catch-playing venues include the Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh, Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, and in front of Boston’s famous Green Monster at the oldest active MLB ballpark.
It would be wonderful to connect with a professional ballplayer or two in each city, joining me in playing catch with friends at urban youth academies and inner-city leagues. It would be AMAZING to give away gloves in each city as well. Maybe T-shirts, too…with the help of a T-shirt cannon?
After cleaning up from catch (and a nap), a storytelling event, complete with pictures and video and live music, will conclude the day. Like catch, stories bring people together. Stories help us make sense of our world and find our place within it. Books, of course, will be available for purchase.
Playing catch taught me about the contagious hope found in community. Hope enables us to fully experience the wonder of each day.
In 2021, I want everyone to catch a glimpse of that kind of hope.