In the End

It was a typical T-ball game. The coaches, volunteer mothers and fathers, located all over the field as allowed in T-ball rules, were as active as the kids.  They grabbed a wayward player here, restraining them from picking the dandelion, and caught a falling youngster there, attempting to climb the backstop. Yes, it was a splendid day. The score was 34 to 33, or something close to that, when the game ended, but the real action occurred after the final out.

After each game the custom in Little League, and most organized ball, is for the two opposing teams to line up single file, facing each other, then to walk slowly by in parallel lines slapping high fives and rendering congratulations for a game well played.  A high five occurs when two players, slightly harder than patty cake fashion, slap each others right hands, extended above the waist for such purpose. A low five is a slapped hand below the waist.

The two teams were all lined up, their right hands in the air, about to slap high fives. The boy in the very back of the opponent’s line tripped over a wayward bat, careening into the player in front of him, who in turn knocked over the player in front of her. When the last human domino from the opposing team fell against my son, the first in our line, he fell backward into the boy behind him and so on, until there was a single mass of writhing T-ballers on the ground. I have always regretted not having a video of the action and have never before or since witnessed an event in baseball quite as memorable.

In the end there was no stressful competition, winners or losers. In the end there was only one giggling mass of dusty, happy children, playing in the dirt on a clear, warm late spring day. At the end of life, this is the vision of both both baseball and life we should all hope to keep.

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