Playing in the Rain
Image courtesy of Seth StohsNow I sit in the Minnetonka High School parking lot, waiting to play. Rain drops fall on the windshield as I check the radar, but today feels different than the last time rain threatened a game of mine. And it's different than the one before that. Rain is a minor leaguer’s best friend, it offers hope of an extra day off, but I don’t want tonight off.
I'm slated to start at shortstop for the Hopkins Berries, a town ball team in the Riverview League. Tonight we face the Minnetonka Millers, the perennial best team in the state. I feel different than I usually feel. I want to play tonight. I don’t care if it’s in the rain, I want to play. This is the exact feeling I was searching for when I signed up to play with a couple of friends.
Welcome back, baseball. You have my attention.
Town ball has been an integral part of Minnesota for a long time. Teams in cities large and small form to play in front of hometown crowds on cool summer nights. On any given evening you can find a game in places like Dundas, New Ulm and Saint Louis Park. Young kids and, often, grown men, face up against each other for the love of the game. No one is being paid, there is no hope of reaching a higher level, no call-ups or demotions, just pure, unadulterated baseball. Just what I was looking for. My team meets about 45 minutes before games. We chat about the week, take a few swings in the cage, do a little stretching, play catch and take the field. No pressure, just baseball.
Sometime during my career, I lost love for playing in the rain, literally and figuratively. I sought to escape the difficult parts of the season. I hoped for washed out games to help me physically escape from the park. Instead of being in a tough time, instead of standing in it and being OK, I sought to run away. Now I want to stand in the rain, I want to get back to being a part of the game I love, every part of it.
The game starts a little late and I step into the batter’s box in the first inning. The same box I stepped into for the first time seven years earlier as a high school senior. My soul finds its home in this space. A slight drizzle continues to fall and I am taken back to my childhood. I look toward the mound and feel no pressure, no worry about the future or the past, only focused on this moment. All I need to do is be. To be right here where I am, doing what I love. The pitcher winds and delivers the pitch and I am home again.
Twins (finally) beat the A's on Sunday so on Monday you can get 50% off a large or extra-large pizza by using the promo code 'twinswin' at PapaJohns.com.
- Carole Keller, jorgenswest and DAM DC Twins Fans like this