The Springfield Cardinals and NW Arkansas Naturals canceled today because of the rain, which ruined the early morning thought I had of surprising Jamie and her students at the game. Tonight’s Miracle League games also canceled as did every other baseball program in southwest Missouri due to the steady showers. Even my first attempt for catch was canceled as someone told me, “I really don’t want to get wet today.”
I completely understand that feeling. I, too, hate getting wet.
After multiple dead-ends, I finally turned to Facebook for help. Nick replied almost immediately.
“Bring an extra glove to my house and I’ll play.”
I drove straight to Nick’s house. I did not pass Go, nor did I collect $200 dollars. If Go and $200 were on the way to Nick’s house, I would have gone there first.
Nick and his family are friends from church. It was raining steadily when I pulled up in his driveway. Nick was sitting out on his porch with his youngest child, baby blue eyes, Naomi. I asked him about the last time he played catch and he started laughing.
“Oh, I remember it all right. It was 6 years ago, the first day of kindergarten for our oldest, Matteo. Amanda bought him a ball and glove and that afternoon, we were going to have a cool, meaningful father and son moment. I threw the ball the first time, and he missed it, of course. He picked it up and threw it to me. So, I threw it a second time and hit him square in the nose. And he dropped his glove and said, ‘I’m never playing catch again!’ And that was the last time.”
And it reminded me of the only time I helped coach a baseball team. I was the assistant coach to my pastor as he drafted and coached his youngest son’s team of junior high ballplayers. At our first practice, being the younger coach, I was nominated to throw batting practice. I have never liked throwing batting practice, even back in high school. I promptly plunked the first hitter with my first pitch, right in the derriere. After that, no one wanted to step in for batting practice. I couldn’t blame them.
Nick is an entrepreneur, working for himself doing handyman and repair work.
“I’ll do pretty much everything but carpet and gas. If it’s an electrical fire, I’ve got a chance of making it out. With a gas fire, well, you know.”
I love Nick’s sense of humor.
I was told to think of Catch 365 as an entrepreneurial project, but I don’t really think of myself as an entrepreneur. More like an advocate for the greatest of games. Or a baseball ambassador of catch playing. Semantics, I guess. I asked for Nick’s advice.
“You should just carry gloves with you everywhere.”
Initially, I laughed at the answer and kind of shrugged it off. I’ve heard far too many MLB announcers make fun of adults who carry gloves to games, especially those who sit in the upper deck like I usually do.
But maybe Nick’s right. I could carry gloves to coffee shops and libraries and churches and who knows what conversations might spark.
The rain had finally let up a little bit, so we stepped out on to his driveway and started throwing, Nick in his t-shirt, me in my sleeves and hoodie and hat.
No bloody noses. No bruised butts.
Catch 365 continues.