As soon as I stepped on the field, I smelled the rain and tried to remember the word that’s used to describe the distinct scent of rain in the air. My mind was blank. Three dogs greeted me convinced I was there to play with them. They were good greeters, even if they muddied my shorts a little bit.
Just yesterday, I sat in these same stands with Curtis and watched a Special Olympics softball team practice. They had serious skills on the field and were incredibly supportive toward one another at all times. I loved listening to them talk through the game situations to one another. Good communication is a critical part of being a team.
The dogs had only been gone for a minute when Brandon showed up.
Wearing a San Francisco Giants hat and with a solid beard, I thought Brandon bore striking resemblance to Brian Wilson, the Giants’ former eccentric closer.
“Not exactly the same personality, though,” Brandon said.
Brandon moved to Springfield this past January from Chicago and works at 417 Travel, which is rather appropriate given his aspirations to travel extensively.
He used the same glove for today’s game of catch that he used to play with in high school and college.
“It’s a little thin, but I love how it feels.”
I almost ran back to the van to grab my George Brett glove because it feels exactly the same way, but there’s another broken lace on it that I need to get fixed.
Brandon taught me a new catch-playing game and told softball horror stories. Just make sure you’re not eating when you hear how he got the scar on his shin. It required 15 stitches to heal and convinced me that I don’t need to be playing softball. When he played baseball collegiately, he was the last person chosen for the travel team. He always wore the uniform of the previous day’s starting pitcher which meant his uniform number changed daily, as did the position he played. Role players and underdogs always have the best stories, tip of the hat to the Moonlight Graham Podcast.
A couple years ago, Brandon got the opportunity to take out the line-up card with the bench coach of the Chicago White Sox.
“He’s now the manager.”
Any day you get the opportunity to step on a major league field is a good day.
It took me a minute to understand his best advice.
“I’d tell my dad, ‘I can’t do it. I just can’t do it.’ And dad would reply, ‘Can’t never did nothing.’”
Only after we’d parted ways did I remember that silly yet superb word, petrichor.