Rodd's Ramblings: Pure joy is found in sports
July 24, 2020
Last Wednesday I had a chance to see sports in its purest form when I visited Braun Park and watched a group of young boys and girls playing tee-ball. I have been fortunate enough to coach youth sports for many years, and I coached in college and high school over the last decade, but Wednesday brought me back to what sports should be all about — fun.
I saddled up along the fence and just sat back and took everything in. Little kids were buzzing around trying to catch and throw as they warmed up prior to the game. They tried listening, but as 6- and 7-year-olds, their attention spans are just not there yet. That’s what made watching so fun. They’d zip over here, scamper over there with huge wide smiles. It was hot outside, but you wouldn’t have known it, as they flitted about the field in an odd joyous harmony.
Eventually the kids were separated into two groups. One group went to the bench area to get ready to bat, while the other moved to their positions on the field. Coaches and moms and dads helped move the kids into proper positioning, and soon the real fun began.
Each player on the hitting team got an opportunity to swing and hit a ball off the tee. Once they hit the ball they were off to the races on their way to first base … err, most of the time. As the ball squirted into the infield, the fielding team’s players ended up on a collision course as they zoomed to the ball. What ensued more resembled a game of bumper cars than baseball.
While the kids in the field were flying to try and get to the ball, the batter-turned-runner often went in the wrong direction, forgot to run, or slipped and fell down. Safe or out didn’t matter as the hitter was always safe and eventually allowed to score a run. Upon reaching each new base the runners would wave to Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa, oblivious to what was happening around them.
Things were not much different with the fielders. Oftentimes fielders could be seen drawing pictures in the dirt, piling dirt on top of the bases, chewing on their gloves or just plain lying down looking at the clouds in the sky.
Having just come off of major surgery, I had been looking for something to make me smile. I found it in the kids’ joy as they played. One of the players was my grandson, and he was not an exception. He hopped and skipped and smiled as he waved to friends and family. He was just another of the gang as they celebrated a beautiful summer night at Braun Park.
WKLK radio personality Kerry Rodd writes sports for the Pine Knot News.