Rada and I showed up at the YMCA yesterday, trudging through the snow, with Rada clutching her seemingly incongruous baseball mitt in her cold mittened hand. The clinic was in a chilly basement gym, with decor that reminded me of the Y of my childhood: there were metal painted gym lockers, cream colored walls, a running track going around the top of the gym, and everything permeated by the faint smell of chlorine, leather, and sweat.
The coach led a small group of motivated boys (oh yes, and one girl… guess who) through a sequence of exercises, explaining, demonstrating, and guiding as he went. The coach was clearly someone who had lived and breathed baseball all his life, and who, from the clarity of his directions and the quality of his enthusiasm, loved to teach.
I was prepared to be bored, but instead watched fascinated as kids threw balls to each other, occasionally experiencing the satisfying feeling of one landing squarely in their gloves. I found myself wanting to be out there tossing the ball back and forth, experiencing the pleasure of a tight throw and catch.
As I watched the teacher show them their paces it seemed almost like he was dancing… the grace and agility was so similar. The movements were practically balletic in some cases. And the joy of watching natural athletes play their sport started seeping in on me, and I found myself less dreading the ensuing games and practices that Rada’s interested will invariably lead me.
And Rada was truly enthralled. She has been yearning to throw a baseball around for months, years, really. This clinic is probably just the beginning. Does anyone know of girls softball or T-ball team in the Somerville/Cambridge area?