Written by Fara Lippencott and posted on her blog May 12, 2009
It’s a simple question. I never gave it much thought. I’m a big crier. I big, sobbing, red eyed, blotchy crier. I cry when I’m sad, I can cry when I’m happy, and I was a little taken aback when we took Jackson to his first organized sporting event and I welled up a bit. Eric had decided it was time to sign him up for something and we settled on baseball to be the best option. Here in town we have a short 6 week challenger baseball league. A wonderful organization for kids 6-18 with disabilities to come together and play just like all kids. we debated about signing up for the standard t-ball league but reflected on the fact that in the long term this is going to be the league he played in so why not start now. I held my breath. He enjoys playing in the backyard and at the park but as for following rules and playing a certain way, I wasn’t quite sure how that would go.
He was excited for his first day of baseball. He even dug out his giant red plastic bat to bring along, didn’t have the heart to tell him they would probably have bats there for him to use. He acclimated to the field right away! Started warming up playing catch with another boy. He was introduced to his buddy for the game (each week different little league teams pair up with a challenger team to help them along in their game). His buddy’s name was Tyler that threw him for a little loop, how could there be TWO tillers!? But pretty soon with the help of dad and Tyler he got right in the mix and followed along.
He was the last on his team to go up to bat. He picked up his aluminum bat and went to the plate and looked back to make sure everyone was watching, and that’s where it hit me. My eyes watered looking at his beaming smile. There was so much pride in me, overflowing, watching the pride in him as he took his stance and eyed up the pitcher. Swing and a miss, miss again, and then he connected! The slightest forward motion but everyone cheered and Tyler motioned for him to run to first base. On the way to first base he fielded his own ball and got redirected to second base and then around to third and home. He was told to touch first base which he did ever so intently, bent over in half with a single pointer finger! Everyone cheered and he stood up and took a bow! Ever the showman! As a photographer I was sure to bring the camera, but when questioned where the video camera was I hesitated and said “how exciting is this going to be?!” Boy was I ever wrong! As we wiped our tears of laughter and joy from our eyes we grumbled at the fact that we didn’t even get it on tape! How hysterical!
Time to switch it up and take the field. Now this is more of what I was anticipating. A little sitting down, a little playing with Tyler, and little of diving for balls lying in the field. That’s a hard concept to sit and wait for a ball to come your way. But for his first time out there he did great! And how awesome to be surrounded by the families who have gone before you. To see the friendships in the players excited to see each other at yet another game. To stop and think about the future and think about all he’ll learn from playing ball and being part of a team. What a wonderful outing I can’t wait for the next time. This time I’ll be sure to bring the video camera . . .