Tuesday night was the first home baseball game of the season for the Sharks and kids from all the little league teams around the Island were invited to take part in the festivities. Teenagers to tee-ballers as tall as a Shark’s back pocket came dressed in their uniforms with gloves at the ready. The competition on the field was first rate. So, too, were the scrambles for foul ball souvenirs.
The Sharks begin their season just as little league winds down. The field has lights now for night games and reserved seating behind the plate. A good thing, too. Baseball fever has hit and needs to be quenched.
The Sharks game was called due to rain so there was no nail biter at the end. But on ballfields around the Island this spring little leaguers have learned, as they always do, what it means to perform under pressure.
On otherwise tranquil spring nights, young boys and girls have been carrying the fate of their teams on their very small shoulders. These are character building moments for the players and their parents. Moms and dads, even those gentle folks who may have spent the winter sipping herb tea and knitting doilies, suddenly encounter emotions unchained. There is so much downtime in baseball as the chess match between pitcher and batter creeps ever so slowly to its conclusion that even the strongest nerves can become frayed.
And therein lies the beauty of this sport still referred to as America’s pastime. The excitement does not require pulsating graphics or concussion causing tackles. Quite the opposite. It’s a team game and yet at heart it’s the standoff that truly digs deep, the brave embrace of facing an uncertain future with just a bat, ball or glove in hand and butterflies lining the stomach.
Meatloaf once sang that two out of three ain’t bad. But even for professional ballplayers hitting one for three at the plate is a huge success. What a perfect way to relate to our young ones the reality of that most mercurial of games, life.