“Dad!” Jordan ran into the living room, bat in hand. “Next week is the start of our new baseball season.”
“Quiet. Can’t you see I’m busy?” Alex settled back into his recliner. Dejected, Jordan dragged his bat behind him, quiet, like his dad told him to be.
“Dad won’t practice with you?” His mom wiped his tear-smudged face.
“He’s watching a game on TV.” Jordan put away his bat and traded it for his glove and ball. “I’m gonna see if anyone’s around to play with me, ‘k, mom?”
“Be home in time for supper.”
Kay plopped onto her lounging husband’s lap.
“Kay, please move.”
“We need to talk.” Alex moved her off his lap so Kay blocked the television with her body.
“Come on, not now.”
“This is a pre-season game anyway. What’s it matter? You have a son outside looking for someone to play ball with because his daddy’s too busy.”
“He’s only seven.” Alex moved his body to see around his wife.
“You played long before seven. I heard you were pretty good, too. Your mom told me your dad practiced with you every night after work.”
“Yea, well I had talent. Jordan doesn’t.”
“What he needs is a dad that will teach him and play with him just because he’s his son.” Kay sniffed loudly and choked back tears.
“What I need is a wife that will let me watch my game.”
“Fine.” Kay stormed out of the room.
Jordan rode his bike to his best friend’s house. He saw Brad in the backyard with his dad so he ran over holding his ball and glove.
“Guess what!” Brad jumped around excitedly. “You’re on my team and dad’s the coach.”
“Hey Jordan. I’m glad you’re on our team but we have a lot of practicing to do.”
Before the night was over a bunch of boys had gathered at the house and they had a full game going.
Jordan rode his bike back home, very excited about his evening.
He ran inside and began to wash up for dinner. “Mom, you’ll never guess what. Brad’s dad’s my coach. He’s gonna practice with us every night. He asked me to be on his team.” Jordan turned around, his face beamed with pride. “He wanted me.”
“That’s awesome, Buddy.”
“We’re having a practice game this Saturday. Think Dad will come?”
“We’ll be there. No worries.”
Jordan had a busy week with school and baseball practice and soon Saturday came.
“Dad, my game’s today. Don’t forget. It starts at ten. Hear me, Dad?”
Alex nodded his head as he ate breakfast while he watched a western.
“I gotta go, Mom. Please don’t forget, okay?”
“We’ll be there.”
Alex and Kay sat in the bleachers. Alex had a small radio positioned close so he could hear his beloved Cardinals play. Kay had her camera poised and ready.
The boys ran to their assigned places. The first young ball player stood at the plate and wiggled in excitement. The umpire yelled, “Play ball!”
By the time it was Jordan’s turn, there were 2 outs and the bases loaded. Alex meandered over to stand next to the coach. Jordan soon had two strikes on him. Suddenly interested, Alex yelled out instructions to his son.
Jordan looked over at his dad with tears in his eyes.
His coach called out, “Keep your eye on the ball, Jordan. It only takes one.”
Jordan smiled, confident in his ability to go out and just have fun, like his coach continually told them.
The pitch came in, low and to the right. Jordan stepped into the ball and swung with all his might. It flew over the second baseman’s head and rolled into the outfield.
Jordan ran to first base, then to second. The ball was overthrown again so he ran to third. His coach waved him on. He slid into home plate. A grand-slam home run.
His dad beamed with pride, ready to scoop Jordan up in his arms and hug him tight but Jordan didn’t run to his dad. He ran straight to his coach who slapped him on the back and brushed the dust off his uniform. His teammates gave him high fives and Kay snapped pictures like crazy.
Alex walked away, his ego severely bruised. He soon felt a tug on his shirt and turned around. Jordan smiled shyly. Alex got down on his knees and held him close. “I’m sure proud of you, Son. Will you please forgive me?”
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