I’m not sure if it was before or after the early morning serving of scrambled eggs, but Eli and Brandon saw me playing catch with Daniel (Day #138) on Daybreak and thought it looked fun. They decided to reach out and see if we could connect for a game of catch.**
“I know a few people that would play catch if you ever need a partner,” Brandon messaged.
Brandon’s timing was perfect. I had a couple open days immediately following the trip and was looking for new catch-playing friends.
We met at Fassnight Field which is one of my favorite catch-playing venues in town. An all-dirt infield with bases in place, a convenient bench to sit on, shaded concrete bleachers, and the outfield grass is almost always mowed. Before we left, a couple fast-pitch softball players asked if we could share the field with them. One was wearing an Aussie Spirit shirt; I cheered her on.
Brandon’s a fan of Kansas City sports and we commiserated over Chiefs playoff games and the Royals difficult season. He brought his son Gunnar, a basketball guy who supports anyone but Lebron.
“That’s probably my fault,” Brandon said, “I grew up under the influence of Michael Jordan.”
I completely understand. I would love to play catch with Michael Jordan, not because of what he did on the basketball court, but because of what he tried to do on the baseball diamond.
The three of us tossed the ball around while we waited on Eli.
Brandon works the overnight shift at the Arc of the Ozarks which is where he met Eli. Arc of the Ozarks helps individuals with disabilities live as contributing members in the community.
Alix brought Eli who greeted us, called us each “handsome guys,” and promptly put on his headband, ready to play ball. Eli works as a janitor in Republic and plays for the Athletics in the Miracle League on Thursday nights. He’s a fan of Superman and also enjoys bowling and swimming. Between the four of us, we tossed the ball and talked about sports and laughed.
For close to half an hour, we just played catch and talked. Nothing elaborate. Nothing complicated. Just four guys, gloves, and baseballs. As soon as we got into one catch-playing pattern, we’d change directions and switch it up. Eli proudly held up his glove when he caught the ball and continued complimenting me, Brandon, and Gunnar. We were each complimented on our looks, age, and general catch-playing ability.
Everyone needs such encouragement, especially on a Monday.
After catch, I exchanged high fives with Eli and we made way as the softball players took the field.
It’s good to be back home again, making new friends and playing catch.
**If you know anyone who might be interested in playing catch, simply send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.