Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Basic Baseball

Ball season is almost over and it struck me that I haven't yet submitted a column about baseball.  I have been helping out with the "Rally Caps" program and often help the develop skills and proper techniques.  In this setting, inspiration is easy to come by.  These young kids are eager to play, not always to learn, but at least to play.   The enthusiasm is contagious and I often find myself excited and encouraging them more loudly than likely necessary.  Helping kids in this type of surroundings is physically and emotionally rewarding.  Here is how I recall the practice from a few nights ago.

It was a hot evening and I was lobbing some pitches to the 6 year old kids.  I was already tired and my enthusiasm was waning when a young girl who had been struggling to hit pitches came up to the plate.  I lobbed a pitch to her and she swung hard and immediately I noticed improvement in her swing from the previous week, but she missed.  I seen her facial expression change to that look of "Oh no.  Here we go again."  She stepped back up to the plate and I threw another pitch to her.  This time she swung and rapped a hard hit down the first base line.  The hit was great but not nearly as inspiring as the surprise that came across her face.  Her face lit up with pride and lifted confidence.  I hollered at her to run to first and she quickly ran down the base path with teeth showing a large smile the whole way. 

Another struggling hitter stepped up to the plate or maybe I should say, stepped on the plate.  I gave him pointers on his stance and the batter's box, which I am sure I have instructed him on before.  When I at last had him positioned he whispers "This is uncomfortable."  I quietly snicker as I head to the pitchers mound and lob in a couple of pitches.  After a few pitches he makes contact with one and stands confused at home plate.  I holler at him to run to first base and his response was "Where is that?"  I couldn't help but laugh out loud as I pointed and encouraged him towards first base with a high five when we get there.

Another young batter, who is stronger than most kids at this level, steps up to the plate.  He is brimming with confidence and I decide to throw a couple of harder pitches to him.  No matter to him, he watched the first one float to far outside, and as I piped the second one he whacks it out deep to left field.  This player too smiles the whole way down the first base path and I can see him thinking to himself "Yes I beat the coach.  Wooohooo!!"

The evening was filled with moments like these and every player wore a smile as a badge of honor at the end of the night.  I realize once again how great it is when we simply play for the joy of it and on this night I was back in mosquito ball myself and enjoying it through them.  I bet I threw over 90 pitches that evening and if the kids weren't tired out.  I sure was.  If you have a son or daughter, a niece or nephew, a grandchild, or simply a young friend playing baseball, I encourage you to get out and watch him or her play.  It is a great way to spend an evening out and the child will truly appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All over it

I've been real busy at work lately.  It has made it difficult to provide a regular blog but that doesn't mean that I haven't been writing.  I have had a couple of press releases picked up lately and will actually disrupt someone's sleep tomorrow morning through a live interview on NB Maritime News Radio.

All this has been very rewarding as I am starting to see the fruit of my labor really blossom.  We have had a successful summer so far and still have a number of projects to pull off yet.  This might mean it will be a while before I get a full post up here but when I do it should be a good one.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Family Photos

My wife has been wanting to get our family photo done for some time now.  She had searched out a photographer and was anxious to work with her.  After the first sitting had to be postponed, the anxiety was heigthened even further. The evening finally came and we drove out to one of my favorite spots to have our pictures taken.  It was a great evening and now that we have had a preview of the photos my wife is now excited to get the finished product.  Genevieve Flynn was great a catching little moments with our kids and we really enjoyed working with her. She has a blog with her website and here is what she thought about our shoot.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fishing again

Kids are great fun. It takes very little to entertain them for hours.  A couple of weeks ago I decided to take my son and a friend of his fishing.  The original intent was to take them camping out for a night but the day we were to go it rained.  Now normally rain doesn't bother me, but I mean it rained hard and I wasn't going to take two six year old boys out in the woods with that kind of rain.  I'm getting off the point though.

I postponed the trip and made it a day of fishing instead.  The boys were game from the get go and when I asked if they wanted to turn off onto the back road, they hollered a resounding yes.  I turned onto the back road with Rodney Atkins playing over the radio, the windows down, and the sunshining.  Cold water was on my mind as the weather the past few days had been warm so I was thought the ice cold Cedar Camp Brook might be a good spot.  Another bonus was that it was not an overly deep or large river so the boys would be safer while fishing in and around it. 

When we finally pulled up by the old church the boys could hardly wait to get out of the truck.  I slowed them down long enough to get sunscreen and bug spray on them.  We then made our way down to the brook and fished down stream towards an old beaver pond.  Before long they were tangled in the trees and shrubs that lined the banks and I made an effort to show them how to keep their lines in the water.  It took some practice but before long they were dropping underhand casts into the cold pools along the brook.  Shortly after that, I hooked a 9" brookie, and let my son reel it in.  He was really excited and was only slightly disappointed that we let it go.

The morning moved into the mid-afternoon and we caught plenty of trout and I decided to keep two for a shore lunch.  We made our way out to the road that runs parallel to the brook and the boys chatted back and forth, and dragged their feet from time to time as they walked up ahead of me back to the truck.  None of us were quite ready to head for home yet so I took the boys to a spot along Trout Creek where the boys could fish or swim if they liked.  It was also a nice spot to cook the trout, the hot dogs I had packed, and boil some tea.

My father who had hoped to join us earlier, met up with us along Trout Creek, and this helped me as I prepared lunch.  I was cooking the trout on a stick and I thought this would impress the boys but they only stopped briefly to say half heartedly "Thats cool."  They then decided they had enough fishing and went swimming instead.  When lunch was ready the boys quickly came and devoured their share of the trout and hotdogs and then splashed back into swim. 

When I finally joined them in the water we all laughed and splashed.  At one point, my son's buddy was sitting on the shore.  His lips were blue and he was shivering and out of concern I asked if he was alright.  His response "I'm just loving this."  That pretty much summed up the day to a tee.  I loved watching my son and his friend bond.  I loved watching them explore the river and the nature that surrounded us all day.  Maybe most of all, I loved the memories that we were all making together.  It was a great day and worthy of being shared here.