On the Other Hand

“Which arm should I use?” (My mother wasn’t sure if she was right or left handed.) This was the question she asked me when I convinced her to throw me batting practice in the backyard decades ago when all my brothers and sisters were off to school and our father was at work.  My response?  “It doesn’t matter.  Just throw the ball in my general direction with either arm, and I’ll swing at it or catch it.” She did, and I did.

Baseball’s All-Star game is just a month around the corner, and nobody deserves to be on that roster more than my mother.

My mother did anything to keep me occupied before I entered kindergarten.  At the age of four, I’d already captured the swings of every Los Angeles Dodger, so I wished to display my talents outside.   Mom preferred playing board games with me inside, but after playing a solid game of “Memory” which I’d commonly win, I wanted to take my energy elsewhere.  This was also prefaced by her extinguishing sibling fights, as well as preparing breakfast, lunch, and laundry all before seven o’clock in the morning.

I would persuade her to go outside and just throw a ball at me (yes, at me), even if I had to chase it down with a bat or a glove.  She may as well have been blind folded.  Our yard was half an acre and she hit every square foot of it.  If I wasn’t running into our chicken coop, diving into a potato shed, I’d be bouncing off our cherry tree or tangled in nettles.  Not knowing where she was going to throw the ball, it became quite a challenge as well as a proper workout.  With all her might and love, she’d toss it with each arm, successfully making me happy, even though I was bleeding.

My father was a very good athlete, and whether she admits it or not, my mother is an exceptional artist.  However, growing up without even sniffing the thought of being in athletics, my mother never really had the chance to develop an interest in sports before her sons and daughters arrived.  She was a mother, and her duties were those of which I can’t possibly fathom.  Going beyond her duties as a mother, she became a companion and the teammate I required as a young and energetic youth.  I was her last dog in the litter.



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