Sports

T-ball winds down this Friday

At the beginning of the evening, Edwin Harrah, 2, is running with us from right field, where we do our warm-up exercises, back onto the diamond. Well, not running exactly. Edwin’s 2. He’s a toddler. And toddlers toddle, which, according to my Oxford American Dictionary and Thesaurus, means, “[to] move with short unsteady steps, while learning to walk. Synonyms: teeter, wobble, falter, waddle, stumble.”

James, Edwin’s dad, jogs alongside his son, enjoining his radiant, round-cheeked, angel-faced beauty of a son to, “Run, Edwin! Run!”

And Edwin, our wobbling, pint-sized seraphim — he has been left in the dust by all the other children, many of whom have already made it back to the diamond — goes down, boom! Splat! Face-first into the grass, onto his belly, his baby bum rocking up behind him.

“Oh! Oh!” we cry, James and I, rushing over to him.

“Edwin?! Edwin!? You okay?”

“Run!” Edwin sings out, lifting his face from the turf, his eyes flashing.

“Run! Fall!” he cries, pushing himself to his feet. He’s okay. “Run! Fall!” he says a second time and is off and running — well, off and toddling — once again.

James and I are relieved. The boy is fine. In fact, he’s more than fine. He’s absolutely gleeful, chanting, singing out, throwing his voice in front of him as he runs to catch up with other children, “Run! Fall! Run! Fall!”

And then, boom! Down he goes a second time. But he’s up in an instant, immediately resuming his death-defying sprint.

“Run! Fall!” he continues to sing out, “Run! Fall!” and every ten paces the rest of the way into the diamond — only now it is the three of us, James, Edwin and I, singing it together. He takes a dive into the turf, our flying teetering toddler laughing all the way down, all the way up, as happy as a clam at high water.

Back on the diamond, in the infield, are two terrific and amazing young girls. The first is Lily Rainey, 7, who one of our dads, Chris Schindler, who was throwing balls out to kids, noticed, too: “That girl’s really got an arm on her,” he said. “I know,” I said agreeing, going right out to tell Lily herself: “You’re awesome,” I said. “You can really throw. You can really catch. You’re amazing. A great ball player. A great little athlete.” And she’s another of our t-ball beauties. You can see both her mom, Amy Boblitt, and her dad, Brian Rainey, in her uncommonly lovely face. At the end of the night, after she’s spent an hour, honestly, just scooping up and chasing after probably a hundred balls, Lily comes to bat and socks the ball right off the tee with her first, nearly perfect swing. And when she dashes down to first, her swift, graceful, young speedster style makes me think of those remarkable thoroughbreds you see every spring at Churchill Downs.

The second great infielder is the stunning Reili Kingsley, 4.95. She is as quick and as coordinated as her fellow infielder, Lily. And she brought her dad, Jeff, a most enthusiastic and wonderful soul, who brought their youngest to bat, Kai Kingsley, only 19 months old, that little soldier actually hitting the ball off the tee, actually snatching up a bunch of ground balls, actually having almost as much fun as his dad and mom, Melody, who was our third base coach all evening, sending kids home. “Home run!” she’d exclaim, urging the kid on, “it’s a home run!” lighting the children up with her zeal, amplifying their accomplishments with her enthusiasm, thank you.

And that’s our Perry League, Yellow Springs’ t-ball program for all our community’s children regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, sexual preference, ability, disability or gender. And please remember, this Friday night, Aug. 3, is our final night of play for the 2012 season. We will end our summer program, as is the Perry League tradition, with a shortened evening of play, a most lovely and delicious wiener roast potluck picnic (if you haven’t signed up to bring something and want to, call me, Jimmy Chesire, at 937-708-9243), followed by the awarding of trophies, one for every child who graces the diamond with us on that final night of play. And if you’ve never seen it, never been out here for t-ball’s closing ceremony, you might give yourself a treat, whether you have a kid with us or not. Just come picnic with us; we always have plenty of food, and stay for the awarding of the trophies. The children’s pleasure, their pride and delight, their incredible excitement for and about their golden trophies, is phenomenal. Wondrous. Fantastic. Fascinating. Beguiling. A true tonic for the soul.

So treat yourself. Come on out. We’d love to have you, we surely would.

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