It’s a ballet of sorts.
Maybe you’ve seen a guy, the last guy to leave the ball park, maybe he put his glove down and picked up a ball and bat and then tossed the ball high in the air and as it came back to earth cracked it with the bat, a metal one or a wood one, and then stood to watch it sail against the blue sky and finally bounce on the greenest grass ever grown.
It is effortless what he does. He isn’t doing it as a test. He swings his bat at his tossed ball because he loves the ballet of it. How it feels. It feels beautiful.
I wanted to hit a baseball in that effortless, beautiful way so I picked up my five-year old grandsons’ small metal bat and one of their t-ball baseballs, softer than a hardball but a baseball all the same, and I tossed the ball in the air and I hit it, smack, with the bat and it sailed, not far, but against the blue sky so it was beautiful the way I imagined.
I was emboldened by this, me, a girl always chosen last for the neighborhood pick-up games, and so I decided I should try to hit a ball pitched to me. This is something I don’t recall ever doing before. So my daughter, who is considerably more athletic but not a baseball player, pitched a ball to me and I swung and hit it and it traveled, not in a loft against the blue sky, but barreled right for her head. She ducked just in time.
Then it was her turn at bat.
Both of her sons stopped what they were doing to watch. She took some practice swings and then settled in for my pitch. I threw the ball and, almost as soon as I did, it came sailing back at me, aimed at my head, my temple actually, so I ducked hard. And almost wet my pants or sort of wet my pants but saying either seems untoward even if true. It was that much of an emergency I want to say that one might lose one’s composure.
I’ll remember this – the boys watching, the crack of the bat, the balls sailing, ducking, first her, then me, the blue and green of it – I’ll remember all if it forever.