Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bleacher Bum

Tonight was the last organized baseball game I'll see my youngest play this year. He's got a few more left in this extended season, but I'll be gone for the rest.

I'm not coaching these. Too busy at work, too much travel ahead of me. Coach P. is, with another dad, a nice guy. The team's made up of most of the kids from our regular season roster, plus a couple of others. The league itself is much smaller for now, families finally taking long-delayed vacations, or just doing something else besides watching baseball. Six teams instead of twenty-one. Two games a week for three weeks, and that's it.

It's strange watching the boys play from the perspective of a parent instead of a coach. My boy and I get to the field early to play some catch, but when the others begin to show up I drift toward the stands, leaving the coaches with their team. When the game begins, I watch what my son is doing, not worried as much about the others as I was even a couple of weeks ago. Much of the time is spent talking to the other adults about movies and restaurants and fishing and whatever else comes up, pausing only to cheer or cringe.

The game ends and my son asks if we can go for ice cream. It's late and I've been out of town all week. "Not tonight," I tell him. For once he doesn't argue and we get in the car and leave the park, and now, already, the night and the game are fading away.