The Pryor Times

Sports

May 4, 2013

Life on the Bench

PRYOR, OK — Well, spring is here, although you couldn’t tell on this day in May, with temperatures in the 40s and the possibility of snow moving in. Nonetheless, spring is here, and with that comes one of my favorite sports — BASEBALL.

Growing up in Pryor, I have spent many a day out at the Pryor baseball fields. Whether it was my tee-ball days and wearing my George Brett shoes that were two sizes too big for me (and came off as I ran down the first-base line) or my high school days, where my Pryor Tiger teammates finished state runner-up in 1992, baseball has always been in my life.  

As a diehard Kansas City Royals fan (I named my son Brett, after all), the boys of summer have been a bit of a letdown for me the past 20 years.  Although this year is looking good so far for my Royals, I have since traded in my baseballs for softballs. Instead of the boys of summer, I am following the girls and men of summer.

In other words, girls tee-ball and men’s church softball. And the funny thing is, they’re a lot alike.

This is my little girl's first year of tee-ball. I coached my twin boys for four years in baseball. My dad coached me all my life in baseball.  However, for my little girl, I am enjoying just being a parent and watching her. As the coach of our softball team, I love getting out there and playing ball, but also hanging with the guys from church.

The other night in my girl’s game, after the first inning, my little dirt princess asked her coach if it was snack time yet. I started laughing, because in many of our church games, I’ve wonded that same question. I’d give anything to eat a hot dog at shortstop. How brillant is that?

In the age of money-grubbing, steroid-using, too-big-for-their-britches sports athletes, right down the road from your house are ballfields full of children; children full of innocence and playing a game that they have no idea how to play, or playing because they love the game, not because it is a job. You also have grown men and women, who want to remember their glory days, hanging out with friends and playing a game that they loved to play, when they had their child-like innocence.

Whether you have kids or not, you should really do yourself a favor and take a short drive to the Pryor softball and baseball fields (or the fields in your town) and watch those children digging in the dirt and not paying attention, or support those church softball adults, who are ... digging in the dirt and not paying attention. I promise you, you’ll have a good time.

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