Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Build It And They Will Come

We are baseball people.  My two older sons play baseball.  Lucy likes to play "just for fun, not on a team." Ugh.  I can so relate, I'm not much for playing team sports.  The co-dependency thing only works for me in bad relationships thank you very much.  But watching baseball and playing "just for fun?" I am all over that.

Baseball is romantic, poetic.  It's so all-American.  It's so father-son. It's so simple. It's so heartwarming. 

Sure, I may have a tendency to over-romanticize baseball because of the movies--so many good baseball movies. I'm a sucker.

I mean my god, have you seen the "have a catch" scene in Field of Dreams? Great movie about baseball and appreciating life.

My oldest son Peyton fell in love with the sport at an early age, playing tee ball.  He quickly followed all the major leaguers and knew more about the players' stats than most grown ups.

He is now on a travel baseball team, which to be honest I worry about.  I worry that so many tournaments and so many games and maybe so much pressure will take away some of his love for the game.  But so far, it hasn't happened.

When we moved into our house in January there weren't a lot of people outside.  But as soon as the weather started warming up people started grilling in their backyards, trimming bushes, working on various projects and kids were out playing.  

My children would wander into our own backyard and listen to the sounds of kids laughing together in the distance.  They tried to pretend it didn't bother them.

"How are we going to meet anyone?" Lucy asked me.
"You just go introduce yourself, say 'hi, I'm Lucy, do you want to play?'," I told her.

Minutes earlier I had been inside looking out at the new neighbors wondering the same thing as Lucy.  One of my biggest heart's desires is for my children to be more at ease socially than I am. 

But for the moment, none of us felt very comfortable walking over to anyone and announcing our need to be accepted and make new friends.  So we sat in our backyard and played with each other for weeks.  

Our backyard is a decent size, with enough room to run around, but we were all missing our old backyard.  The backyard with our own baseball/whiffle ball/kickball field.

My husband, Tim, finally had enough of our moping and decided to do something about it.  Go introduce himself to the neighbors?  Oh no, he is just as bad socially as me.  Our poor children got a double dose of genetic social awkwardness unfortunately.

Instead, Tim decided to put in the bases from our old backyard field.  Even though we can't Rototill base paths or build a home run fence, since it's a rental, we can indeed put in some actual bases.

It was the whole build it and they will come philosophy ripped off straight from a great baseball movie (Field of Dreams of course).  And it took a couple days, but by the end of the first week, we had eight neighborhood kids playing baseball in our backyard.  

Lord knows it wasn't our outgoing nature.  It was the magic of baseball. I'm a believer.

Um, it wouldn't be a worthy post about baseball movies without this classic. "There's no crying in baseball."


  1. I love it! I grew up playing baseball in my backyard, with trees as bases and all time pitchers and so on. We are also a baseball family. We love to watch The Sandlot together (I forgot they say s*** a few times!) and my husband and kids will stop everything when The Rookie is on TV. This is so cool--I bet your neighbors love you now, especially the parents!

  2. I love your blog. I'm a HUGE baseball fan, and it didn't happen until I was 16 (a friend played on a church team and almost had to forfeit because they didn't have enough players... they threw be someone else mitt and put me in right field. That was 26 years ago. I still play!! I wish I could get my kids to want to enjoy it like i do. MAYBE, I need to build a field in our yard! LOL