I was watching the Brewers-Cardinals playoff baseball game last night and when the umpire got hit by a pitch, when a memory washed over me. This happens sometimes after you loose a child a memory from a time when life was sweet and times were just perfect, sometimes these memories just need to be shared.
Eric started playing baseball when he was about nine with all of his buddies from our community. When he was about eleven or so he became a pitcher. He was quite good at it too and that's just not his mother talking. He pitched on local teams- at all age groups, JV & Varsity, AAU,and American Legion and a bunch of others I can't even remember the names but the point is he loved it.
We spent many many years traveling around our state going from tournament to tournament with the teams he played on. Eating dinner at ten or eleven at night staying in hotels, we have many cherished memories of our time with our son and our baseball family.
At one particular game Eric was pitching and he threw an off speed pitch into the plate, the ball bounced up and clipped the umpire in the chin. Somehow the ball slipped under the mask and being that pitchers can be wild as teenagers and catchers can't catch everything, that poor umpire went down like a ton of bricks.
The noisy ball park went silent as we all watched as the umpire laid flat on his back un-moving the catcher leaning over him. You could have hear a pin drop and I watched my son on the pitchers mound freeze for a moment. Then as if in slow motion he headed in the direction of home plate concern etched all over his face. All of us holding our breaths with eye's still glued to the umpire splayed on the ground we heard through the deafening silence these words in a cracking voice "THAT was a BALL."