Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Schooled by a Wyld Angel: What I learned in April

Don't know what got into that girl.

Her age and the number on the back of her hot pink jersey are the same.

She blushes when you talk to her and her smile still glows with the sincerity of childhood.

She isn't mine but they have much in common, Shy Girl and my girl.  Two Wyld Angels twirling incessantly around chipped metal poles while I try to be friendlier than I really am.

That Shy Girl, she rides with her grandparents each week.  I've never seen her momma.  Her daddy finds his own way to the park, sometimes he walks and sometimes he takes a cab but the fact is, he's there, coaching two of my kids four days a week.

The ballpark is full of stories.  Parents adoring their kids, babies in strollers, Memaw and Papaw, tattoos, and beer breath, nachos and parents giving up their couches to coach kids.

Congratulations on number five, even though this baby wasn't planned.  "God is laughing at your plans," I say and the daddy agrees, "I guess He is."

Stories in the form of four-foot-tall kids in ball caps run around me.  I wonder about them.  Sometimes the adults turn away when someone loses control of their words and sometimes they speak up.  "Lighten up, they're just kids!" and old man growls at a weary woman with wild hair.

Shy Girl of the Wyld Angels heads up to bat.

I grow tense because I know her a little and I like this girl.  She might hit, or might not but she's new to the game and I want her to do well.  But most of these little girls, well, let's face it, they're so little, just learning, that's the point, right?  Maybe she can make it to first base.  That would be good for her.  Give her some confidence.  I want her to like the game.

The fact is, she probably won't hit it at all.

The pitching machine shoots the balls high tonight.  In my mind, I am already making excuses, stupid machine.  How can these girls hit the balls if that stupid, old machine keeps moving around?  My daughter is even shorter than Shy Girl.


Shy Girl runs as fast as she can toward first base.  The other team chases the ball and it looks as though they almost have it.  The coaches yell, "Stop at first!  Stop at first!"  Someone has the ball in their glove and she really should stop.

She doesn't stop.  You should see her.  She rounds first base and keeps on cooking like it has been her plan all along.  She isn't listening to anyone.  That girl is on a mission.

The fielder on the other team throws the ball wildly.  No one is ready.  The ball hits the grass and keeps on rolling.  Shy Girl rounds second base and keeps on rolling.

Someone corrals the ball and locates Shy Girl in the melee, she's hard to miss in her hot pink jersey and socks.  They throw toward third base and the ball and Shy get there about the same time.  They might get her out there.

But that girl doesn't even slow down.  She runs between a group of girls and while they try to figure out what to do, she angles out to make the turn and the crowd goes crazy.

I'm out of my seat, yelling, "Run, Girl, Run!"

It doesn't matter what anyone says.  It is as though that little girl saw a chance and she's taking it.  An adult might reason that she has nothing to lose.  The crowd counted her out when she went to the plate with her bat in her hand.

I don't think she's reasoning.

I think she's just running.

 I am certain she doesn't even see the balls flying at her as the other team tries to get her out.

She never even hesitates.  She just runs.  All the way home.

Don't know what came over her but I think that when you are young like that, something as simple as hitting a home run one time, I think it can change your life.  We learn from our experiences and I pray that girl remembers this day when she did something big and beautiful  and brave and the crowd cheered. I pray that she remembers being the hero for a moment and running all the way home, regardless of what everyone else yelled from the sidelines.

This April I was schooled by a Wyld Angel.

I learned that sometimes, you have to make up your mind and run.

Ignore the voices around you.

Don't stay at first base where it's safe.

Simply refuse to see the balls flying at you.

Run with all you have from one base to another, until you get home.

That's what I learned in April.  Thanks for the invite from Chatting at the Sky...Emily, you are an anchor!