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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

And then I bought an eggplant

Hello?  Is this thing on?

It's been awhile.  And here I am.  Let's see what I can share after four weeks away.

Well.  Last weekend I bought an eggplant. I have never bought, nor have I, to my knowledge, eaten an eggplant. I was at the Farmer's Market buying boring things like tomatoes and onions so I thought I'd throw caution to the wind and buy the eggplant.  Kyle just brought it over here and asked me what it was because it's just been sitting there by the sink all week and I think he's expecting it to come alive and start singing like Bob and Larry from Veggie Tales.  This turns out to be perfect timing because he just handed it to me like it was some sort of kryptonite and now I can include a photo of my eggplant.  Here you go.

(What?  She hasn't written in a month and now she's showing me an eggplant.)

Y'all, I apologize, but I'm stuck.  And I know why.

I keep thinking I CANNOT possibly write another baseball post.  But then do you see what happens? 

We end up with a photo of an eggplant. 

I mean I really want to try to write about something besides baseball.  Because I am sure for many readers it is just nauseating that the entire summer all of my posts have been about that little baseball team of 10 year olds.   And if you follow me on Facebook, you saw that during July it was just a tidal wave of posts on that little baseball team.  And really, truly, I promise you that the majority of those were not even posted by me.  I didn't even have my real camera at any of the games and often times I was concentrating too much on bladder control to post on Facebook during the games.  So in addition to my gloating, you had the tagging element of Facebook which brings in extraneous gloating from other team mommies and fans.

Now, most certainly, there have been other notable events this summer about which I could write.  There are books to recommend, vacations to discuss and major family events to share.  Like for example, we now have an U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka in my family.  (WHAA???) There have been some concerts, some friends' kids going off to college which has me in full on Superfreak mode, some political debates, some Stitch Fix boxes, and some movies to tell you to see (Inside Out) and to skip (Bryce Dallas Howard running in heels from dinosaurs was more than I could take).  There's been some running and praying and thinking and wondering and hoping about lots of things that I could write about.

And oh, y'all.  After spending the better part of July in a Courtyard Marriott or a Holiday Inn Express, the detox that needs to happen up in here is SERIOUS.

But in my first time back at the desk, I just cannot help myself.   I feel a bit unfinished because I didn't officially complete the writing about the little baseball team because after that last post?  Well, those twelve little boys just weren't done yet. 

And guess what? This here blog is called The View From Behind Home Plate, not The View from Behind the Produce Section.

So there.

This summer.  The husband.  The boy.  The baseball team that JUST.COULD.NOT.STOP.WINNING.

Well, until they did.  In the final game of the Southeast regional.  A defeat which came after fourteen victories that included an undefeated run to the District title and then an undefeated run to Virginia State title. Then they showed up in North Carolina, along with the winners of seven other states, to represent Virginia in the Tournament of State Champions.  There the boys beat Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  Oh, and then they beat Florida AGAIN.  But who's counting?

(Oh my Lord.  She won't shut up about it.  It's really obnoxious.  Can we scroll back up to the eggplant?)

For me, well, it was summer that was darn near perfectly marvelous.  Amazing.  Baffling.  Stomach turning.  Exciting.  Tear inducing, pee in your pants, take your breath away moment after moment after moment.

There was the first game when Joe and I couldn't be there so Joe said we could just make a small purchase at Wal-Mart and would be able to hook up the computer to the tv and watch the game because the tournament website had a live stream broadcast.

And I was all, "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

 But it was true. It worked.  It seems that some other folks figured out how to watch, too. So there were grandparents and cousins near and far and many little and big friends in our community who watched the team on their computers and Ipads and Iphones and in their cars. Even our local sports bar showed the broadcast of the final game, And I was flat out tickled to death every time I got a text with a photo of our buddies watching.

Those twelve little boys just captivated the whole community.  Well, maybe not the whole community, but at least the baseball-crazy ones.  They just kept winning.  I simply could not believe it. 

But those little guys?  They could believe it.  They were not one bit stunned by their success.  They played like a bunch of major leaguers in the heat and the pressure, day after day. There were home runs sailing over the fences.  There were crazy diving catches in the outfield.  There were double plays and hook slides.  There were stolen bases.  There were clutch hits and RBIs.  And there were little boys holding each other up, believing in each other.  Believing in their coaches.  Knowing that if they gave everything they had, they just might live to play another day.

And because of the plays they made and the focus they had, it was almost hard to remember that they were just a bunch of little boys.  There were some moments that made me remember though

One of my favorite moments of all was as Husband and I were having a very romantic lunch date just outside the dugout before the State Championship game.  We were sitting opposite each other on coordinating baseball buckets, drinking warm Gatorade and pretending we didn't each want to offer the other some deoderant.  The players had all taken off between games to grab lunch while Coach Skinner had stayed back to do the coin toss for the final game.  Coach had lost many a coin toss in his previous games, but seemed to be on some sort of streak of luck in the last two games.  As the boys began to return from lunch, two of them came up and asked him how the coin toss had gone.

"Boys, " he said, seriously, "I won the coin toss this time.  Again.  I did.  It's true."

As they started toward the dugout, I noticed one of the boys clinch his fist in victory as he turned to his teammate and said, "Dude!  Coach is getting SO GOOD at the coin toss!"

In the end, they were just a bunch of little boys who did some pretty big things this summer.  And there are so many words in this word-filled head of mine that come to mind when I think about those boys and this summer.  They were amazing and courageous and tenacious and funny and loyal and determined.  But the first and most important word that comes to mind when I think of them is that they were a blessing.

I am so very grateful for the blessing of that bunch of little boys. And for the blessing of the other coaches.  And for the blessing of their families and how they supported my family and each other. And I am grateful for the way our friends and families followed them and supported them and cheered them from all over the country,  It seems that after all the scheduling and laundering and driving and sweating and hotel sleeping that I am truly grateful for the blessing of Little League baseball.

Mostly, though, I am so grateful for that Coach and that feisty little red headed catcher from Loudoun South who along with that bunch of little boys turned our summer into a blessing bigger than we could have ever, ever imagined.

Now if someone could tell me what to do with that eggplant, then YOU would be a blessing, too. Thank you in advance.  :)

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