Field Of Dreams

Rockford Park is just one hundred steps out our front door.

All summer, Abbi has been walking the girls down to a basketball court adjacent to a gravel-strewn baseball diamond they call “The Sand Lot.”

Initially, they had been playing street hockey with a small group of friends. Lately, just as Major League Baseball is wrestling with its apparently-flawed, non-bubbled, 60-game season, the girls are discovering the sport — and loving it.

Elsie plays with my 70s-era, Louisville Slugger George Brett model. (“Awesome! It’s already broken in!”). I play with my Wilson Ron Guidry, last seen in my ninth grade baseball season, when I was forced to choose between the varsity team, and the lead in “Pirates of Penzance.” (I chose the latter.)

The kids are often so competitive, so joyfully present in the game, that they cry at perceived injustices. Last night, for example, they learned the difficult reality of “a force at second.” Elsie, confounded, in tears, cried, “But I couldn’t do anything! I had nowhere to go!”

(Ends up the Tom Hank’s chestnut, “There no crying in baseball,” is not effective in this instance.)

I am a wildly vocal participant, shouting my kudos from a shallow center field position. It is a truly magical moment to experience: 8-year-olds learning how to swing (“Great cut, Mags!”); moms sipping rosé, dads with cans in koozies; cicadas and laughter; humidity, mosquitos, and blue sky for miles.

I’m not sure how long the kids will have this time with their friends in the park; my inclination is that back to school will mean back to laptop. I suspect that, as the second wave of corona virus rolls through the fall and winter, the walls will come down again. We will lockdown.

For now, though, it’s Heaven.

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