Last night, I came home to a couple of naked boys and a fresh pile of boards and cement that I hope will soon be a new deck off our dinning room.
Somehow, my interest in the pile of boards made the boys instantly interested as well. After some of us put on clothes, we all went outside to get yelled at about not touching things.
After it was clear Elijah would not be able to destroy our deck, he asked if we could practice batting. This was a clear trick to get me to let him stay up past his bedtime.
I told him he could either practice batting or get a bedtime story. Not both. He countered by proposing that if he hit three balls, he would get the bonus of getting a bedtime story. I set the limit at 15 minutes to hit 3 balls and took his place next to the garage.
He did manage to hit two balls pretty easily, but the third gave him fits. No matter how hard he tried or how easy I threw, he couldn’t connect. And time was running out.
I told him he could have 10 more tries before the game was up.
Strike 1, strike 2, strike 3. Elijah got more and more anxious. “I’m so nervous, Dada. I’m so nervous.”
“Don’t sweat it. Just concentrate on the ball. I’ll throw it nice and easy.”
Six, seven, eight. And then there were two. Strike 9 hit the back fence and Eli really started sweating.
I held the last ball out and said, “Ok. This is it. Last ball. Just relax. Relax.”
Eli scrunched his face up and crouched into his stance. He took a couple practice swings and got ready.
And then the most evil thought entered my brain. “You know, Rick. You can strike him out so, so easily. And then you won’t have to tell him a story. Throw it inside, outside, high, low. Anywhere but the strike zone. You know he’ll swing at it. Strike ten. You’ll be watching “Louie” before you know it.”
I shook the thought out of my head and reminded myself I was here to help my son learn baseball and not improve my ERA.
I held the ball up and said, “Here it comes.”
And some subconscious part of me. The competitive jerk part, released the ball way too late and the ball sailed low and left. Elijah swung at it feebly.
I was already running to him before he started crying. I scooped him up and said, “Bad throw bad throw!”
I carried him inside and told him a bedtime story about how Elijah Hamann won the World Series of Space Baseball in the year 2050.