15 March 2011

Passing Ball

For Christmas in 1984 my mother, in an act of total selflessness, cashed in her points from work to obtain for me a Jim Rice Spalding baseball glove; I believe it cost $80, which was a monstrous amount for my family at the time. I loved that glove; it was my first "real" glove. My previous gloves were cheap models bought at Heck's (you had to grow up in WV to know about Heck's); the gloves were also the favorite of my dog Amos, who would just wait for me to leave them lying on the ground so he could chew on them, but since they were cheap imitation leather, he would take them over the hill, dig a hole, and bury them.) But the Jim Rice model was different in my eyes and Amos' - I never left the Jim Rice model on the ground!

The glove served me well for the majority of my baseball and softball playing days. But not even the Jim Rice could last forever. Last week I went to one of the mega-lo-mart sporting goods stores and purchased a new glove. It is a Rawlings model that set me back about $35. I cannot believe how good a quality this glove is compared to the Jim Rice, no it is not as good but damn near.

I have officially given up my dream of playing professional baseball. I never stood a chance but I still held onto the dream. Although if Jamie Moyer comes back next season I may reawaken my dream. My one passion then and now is to simply pass ball. I love passing ball.

Every evening before dinner my father and I would pass ball till mom said supper was ready. On the field I was Don Mattingly and he was Dan Quisenberry - not exactly a match made in heaven for passing but who cares.

We passed ball up until the last year of life.

On the evening I bought the new glove it was all I could to do after dinner to restrain my excitement to pass ball #2; I couldn't stand it. It was a fun evening; the new glove will take some time to break in but what a wonderful way to do it with my boys. I also decided it was time to introduce some of the passing games my dad and I used to play, they loved them. I dont know how good of a ball player the boys will be - they are head and shoulders above me when I was their age. I do hope that years from now they too have the simple love of passing ball.

Postscript -- While I was in seminary Ken Burns released his documentary on Thomas Jefferson. One day while eating lunch with some classmates and some professors we discussed the program. During the conversation the late Dan Champion chimed in that during the second and third hour of the program Burns ran out of material and spliced several minutes of his previous work Baseball. We all laughed, even the professors - this was Dan Champion after all! Once the table cleared leaving only Dan, Chad (now Dr. Thralls), and myself, we picked up the conversation concerning the Burns documentary...Champion made a bet, "I bet if ESPN2 at 2am put two guys passing ball on television, people would watch it." 12 years later I still know I would...

1 comment:

Bubba Muntzer said...

Ha! Moms are like that, aren't they? I especially enjoyed that story because I have a Jim Rice model. It looks exactly like the one in the picture, except better because I've always kept it oiled up with neatsfoot oil. Mine looks almost new, in fact. Now it's wrapped up in a plastic bag (with a ball in the pocket, of course) in the closet and I'll see it once in awhile and and get it down and oil it up if it needs it, and sometimes go out and toss a rubber ball against a brick wall and pretend I'm Don Kessinger. I got it when I got out of the army, somewhere around 78 or 79, and couldn't find my Ernie Broglio. This was almost exactly like it - with the shorter fingers. I always liked it because you have more control. It's quicker, and that probably makes up for the shorter reach, I always thought.