The Old Ball Game
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When I was a child,
summer at my Aunt Joanne’s
meant staying out as late as it took the sun to set!
And mostly with my cousin Chris,
I threw a baseball back and forth
with exhilaration each time I felt
the impact of Chris having thrown the ball
right smack in the center of my glove.
Chris’ dad, my Uncle Clifford, loved his baseball!
One time I remember
being loaded with the other kids into his old car,
summer wind blowing through my hair,
as he drove us to a game in Davenport.
Uncle Clifford used to play on that same diamond
where he took us to watch that game.
I wasn’t all that keen on it.
But the atmosphere was so lively.
Vendors selling hot dogs, cracker jacks, and candy -
this was my childhood delight!
I am sure I must have cheered
for a team of which I knew absolutely nothing,
mimicking my elders there in the stadium
as wildly they called out their reactions to the game.
In school I played baseball myself,
standing like a statue in the outfield.
It was more exciting to watch my brother Dale from the stand,
those long hot summer afternoons as he played on his league.
It would be at least twenty years later
that I would sit and cheer for a baseball game again -
this time for my son in Little League.
Rooting for a loved one makes the game more alive for me!
Grimacing with every strike my son made;
standing up and going crazy when at last . . .
he knocked it out far into right field!
Glowing with pride that my son’s forte was as catcher
and watching him in all his gear behind home plate.
When I hear the old familiar song Take Me Out To the Ballgame,
it reminds me of the simple pleasures
of my youth,
a time when life was slower paced
and those summer days with my cousins.
America’s pastime, which has trained so many kids
to love being part of a team,
now seems to take a back seat to that rowdy sport called football.
But give ME a game I can follow,
a game that through time I came to love.
My Uncle Clifford has since passed away;
oh to spend one more day with him
at the old ball game!
Feb. 24, 2017 For Phillip Garcia's The National Pasttime Poetry Contest
Copyright © Andrea Dietrich | Year Posted 2017
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