Life Begins on Opening Day by Gary Roedemeier

Life Begins on Opening Day by Gary Roedemeier

The Author as player in Khoury League Baseball, St. Louis, Mo. (Circa 1954)

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by Gary Roedemeier

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 7, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 7 at 3:25 PM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - There is a moment in the springtime of life, when a child wraps a hand around a horsehide sphere and let’s fly the dream of American youth.

There is an unwritten rule that about the age of 7, just before hand and eye can act in concert, a child shall be taught the game of bat and ball.

And this meeting of child and sport is not meant to be a brief encounter. The baseball seed is a perennial, ready to bloom each spring, no matter the age.

It is a game that fathers pass down to sons and daughters. And with it comes advice, that the game, like life itself, requires a little hustle.

And so, at this time of year, the diamond of bases is joined again. A new season is near. Muscles must be stretched and arms unlimbered. Some players of yesteryear pass gently into coaching and teaching the game to a new generation. They can participate simply by sitting and watching.

Watching and thinking is an integral part of baseball. The game is modestly paced, giving time for thought between pitches.

And after the play is over, it can be written down in logical numbers and kept forever. The fans digest those numbers from the morning newspaper and keep them in their memories. They can be recalled for discussions on cold winter days, because baseball is a game of memories.

It brings images of gentle weather, a vendor’s chant, a fastball popping into a catcher's mitt and yes, even a little spitting.

All will be taught to the next generation in countless conversations, telling how it was and is. Of Bobby Thompson's "shot heard round the world." Of Willie Mays turning his back and hauling down a fly ball that couldn't be caught.

And children, who say "take me out to the ballgame," and Dads who can't wait to be asked.

"Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks, I don't care if I ever get back."
  
 

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