added 4/5/2004 by Susan and Darrell Pittman
Around this time every year, clover grows in my home town of Port Arthur, Texas, signalling another spring, and another baseball season.
Dad was a football fan, but he saw fit to get me a ball and glove in my seventh year so we could have a catch in the front yard when the weather was good. I wasn't good enough a player to make the prime Little League in town. Mom got me into the Optimist League, which was the minor league of the Little League there.
Even there, I mainly rode pine. I played right field, mostly, the typical banishment of the incompetent. My understanding of the game always exceeded my ability to play it. I was that little nerd keeping score for the manager.
Every spring we'd all show up to fix up our little ballpark, mow the grass, level the dirt, fix up the sheds that we called "dugouts", and take our team picture for the year.
One ritual of that experience was the annual Dads' game. Every year, my Dad would trot out in his golf shoes to right field to take my place. I don't remember who won or lost; it was enough for me that he did that, even in his fifties.
There are only two plays I ever made that stand out in my mind: an over-the-fence catch in right field (with eyes closed), and a triple I hit to left.
I also remember the Sno-Cones that our manager, Mr. Dement, would buy us after the ganes.
I saw the old ballpark sometime back. It's pretty run-down, but still there. I saw fathers teaching their sons to shag grounders there, so it's not gone entirely to waste.
You know what? I just saw clover growing on my way home today. Maybe it grows there, too.
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