Tummyball

Baseball is about knowing exactly what you're going to do with the ball, before it comes to you. That is my father's philosophy on the sport.

From the time I started playing as a 7-year old til I hung up my basketball kicks in high school, my dad was my coach. In college, old Dad - with his gifts for math and getting on base - had been an Academic All-American at BGSU. I confidently believe you wouldn't have to travel far in the Multiverse to find a reality where he went on to a Billy Beane-status coaching/managing career.

That, plus the fact that Dad was coached by his own father up until college, made it only natural that Kirkpatrick Behnke Funeral Home (despite a team name most screenwriters would consider too absurd for a Bad News Bears sequel) had one of the highest coaching pedigrees in my Ohio hometown's 6/7 year-old league.

Dad believed in giving all the kids on the team the attention needed, skill-level notwithstanding. It was his job to help everyone improve as a player. So when it came to the end of our first ever practice, my dad asked if anyone had any questions. I, of course, had one.

Perhaps against his better judgment, he called on me. "Mike, what is it?"

"What happens if somebody hits the ball, and the pitcher swallows it?" I asked.

As I said, many seasons of many sports followed. But my dad never again ended a practice by asking for questions. And thankfully, no one ever swallowed any balls. But I believe I may have succeeded in finding the only baseball situation where my dad would have considered it acceptable to give the answer he gave:

"We'll deal with that when it happens."

-Mike L

Posted on November 27, 2013 and filed under storytelling, Mike L, fond memories, baseball.