Sundays are for doubleheaders.
Harper greeted me with glove and bagels in hand at church this morning and I saw him lick his glove.
“There was cream cheese on it.”
No judgment from me. During my playing days, I chewed on every lace on my glove out of sheer nerves or occasional boredom. They usually tasted salty from the sunflower seeds I was chomping and spitting.
After a much needed Sunday siesta, I had no second game lined up, but felt what I can only describe as “compelled” to go to the park.
Across the street from the old softball field near Parkview High School, which is also across the street from Fassnight Pool, is Fassnight Park. In Fassnight Park is a concrete handball court that I’ve used to try and stretch out my arm and build endurance in anticipation of playing catch for another 300-plus days. I stretched my arm and threw the ball three times against the wall when two teenage boys joined me.
I honestly have no idea where they came from. I didn’t see anyone else in the park when I parked the van. No other cars were in the lot.
“Can we play?”
The first question startled me.
“Do you have gloves?”
“We’ve got hands.”
“I’ve got extra gloves in the van. We can head to the field if you’d like.”
“That would be so cool.”
Mack and Matthew are best friends, “but we really consider ourselves brothers.” They both have professional athlete dreams, as did I when I was their age. They love the movie Blindside and “you know, sports movies, superhero movies, just good movies really.”
After warming up for a few minutes, we practiced catching pop-ups and making throws to the plate and turning two around the infield. I decided to call it a day and, as has become standard practice, I packed away the gloves and grabbed my camera.
“Uhm, no pictures, please. But maybe you could just take a picture of all the gloves?”
I completely understood the “no pictures” request. How odd does it sound that a stranger you just met wants to take your picture because he’s writing a blog about playing catch every day?
We threw my gloves on the ground and I took a quick picture. We then exchanged handshakes and high fives and I walked back to the van with the glove bag slung over my shoulder.
As soon as I loaded the gloves in the back seat, I looked up and the boys were gone.
Lou Brock tells an incredible story about an angel on the field when he tried out for Southern University. I don’t know if Mack and Matthew are catch-playing angels or just neighborhood boys.
I guess they could be both.