On April 2, I was supposed to go to the Kansas City Royals home opener against the Seattle Mariners as a celebration of Isaiah’s 16th birthday. I planned on entering the stadium as soon as the gates opened, watching batting practice and cruising the concourse, looking for friends old and new. I wanted to take special note of the players’ pre-game warm-up routines, seeing what changes I need to incorporate while I think about trying out for Season 5 of the Grip’N’Rip Baseball League (as long as my body cooperates). And, I wanted to watch the Royals starting pitcher warm up in the bullpen. I love watching and listening and learning to a good bullpen session. I can throw a decent bullpen myself.
I’d shop for a souvenir of some sorts for Kaylea and Sophie and take the same 30 pictures I take every time I go to Kauffman Stadium. Buying a scorecard, I hoped to talk one of my Opening Day friends into alternating half innings with me, just in case the Royals tallied 6 in the bottom of the ninth for the victory — thank you Mendy Lopez for that epic Opening Day memory.
After the game, Isaiah and I would couch surf with a friend in Lee’s Summit, and then wake up early the next morning to drive to Ottawa, Kansas for the 25th Annual Conference on Baseball in Literature and Culture. For the past three months, I’ve been shaping a story about “The Power of Playing Catch” to present at this conference. After struggling with a few awful first drafts, I finally felt the story was in good form with solid visuals. It would be memorable and inspiring, equal parts entertaining and informative. My backpack of gloves would accompany me to Kansas just in case any new friends were up for a game of catch.
Time to get creative.
With Dad’s help, we made a video of the presentation, pictures included.
It is not a TED talk. I don’t have any parts of the story memorized. For the past 20 years, I have been doing my storytellings from a manuscript. So, Dad and I used the computer as a tele-prompter and filmed a few live-action shots. Three different gloves make an appearance and fun baseball memorabilia can be spotted in the background. I successfully memorized one sentence.
I stutter over a couple of words and the ding of a cell phone is heard at least twice. Unbelievably, the dog and cat were quiet throughout the recording. They only had to be physically relocated twice.
The 15-minute video is entertaining and informative; Dad’s work would make Ken Burns proud. The lessons are quite applicable to the current situation — Adaptability. Tenacity. Hope.
And it’s baseball.
Grab your glove and some cracker jacks and enjoy.