With no school this morning, Kaylea and Sophie slept in while I worked on words. When Rick called to let me know the van was fixed, Kaylea shuttled me to pick it up. We pulled in to All-Pro just as the batting cages opened, so after paying for the van, we took some swings in the cages. I was frustrated because the fast cage was throwing the ball quite high — at least shoulder high — nowhere near the strike zone. Tomahawk swings were required.
We lunched at Sonic and I watched the Royals lose their first game of the day in painful fashion while Kaylea homeworked and Sophie went on a bike ride. (The Royals won’t get a chance to lose their second game until later tonight.)**
After Sophie returned and after I mowed and after Kaylea was thoroughly frustrated by homework, I suggested we head to the park and soak up some rays and play catch.
“Can you teach me how to catch a pop-up?” Sophie asked.
I remember when Dad taught me how to catch pop-ups. It was on a hot, summer afternoon on an all-dirt infield at Meador Park. The field is no longer there. It took a lot of misses for my eyes and hands to figure out how to get under a pop-up without fear of catching it with my face. When we got home, my head was beat red and dripping with sweat. Mom made me stand in front of the window air conditioner unit to cool off.
For years to come, whenever Dad and I would play catch, we’d finish with him throwing the highest pop-up he could and I’d catch it. Even now, I think chasing down pop-ups in the outfield is one of my favorite things to do on the field.
I remember helping Kaylea practice catching pop-ups when we lived in Kansas City. On several attempts, she hopped slightly as she caught the ball. It was adorable.
I tried to give Sophie a couple of pointers and Kaylea demonstrated how she catches them.
“Higher,” Sophie said.
“Uhm, not that high.”
I’d throw a pop-up to Sophie, then one to Kaylea, and we made a game of it: How many can you catch in a row?
Their combined record currently stands at 10.
Practicing pop-ups is a perfect way to pass a spring-like afternoon.
**Update: The Royals finally ended their 9-game losing streak! They won! They won!