Today’s excerpt from Coach Dave: Season One gets down to the reason many adults value their own childhood baseball experiences. More than trophies, they hold in higher regard other, less visible aspects of playing youth baseball.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the book. I call this scene “More Than Trophies.” Enjoy.
More Than Trophies
On the night of the Yankees-Scarlet Knights matchup, the wind was blowing straight in from center. The temperature was cool for mid-June, comfortable for the hundred or so folks gathered to watch the game.
A leadoff walk to Wyatt in the top of the first, followed by bunt singles from L.C. and Rob, loaded the bases in the top of the first. Unable to pitch around Bryce, the Yankees’ pitcher grooved a fastball that the Knights’ cleanup hitter didn’t miss.
“That’s a goner!” yelled Rooster as the Knights’ fans all stood and cheered in anticipation of an early 4-0 lead against the rival Yankees. Not giving up on the play, the Yankees’ center fielder backed up to the fence. He was rewarded when the wind held the ball up, keeping it in the park and allowing it to settle in his waiting glove. With the Knights’ runners moving on the deep drive, the Yankees tossed the ball in to second and back over to first for the second triple play against the Knights in one season!
The Yankees struck for three runs in the bottom of the first against a staggered Knights squad. Though three Knights’ pitchers held their own against the potent Yankee line-up the rest of the way, Coach Dave’s squad never seriously threatened on offense. The Yankees finished out a 7-2 victory that clinched the regular season title and the all-important number one seed in the league tournament, which would begin the following weekend.
Rob was as down as I have ever seen him after a baseball game. As we walked toward the main concession stand to take a peek at the final standings and seedings for the tournament, he said, “Dad, we just can’t beat those guys. Their coach knows where every one of us is going to hit the ball. It’s frustrating to hit a good line drive that would be a hit against anybody else; but against them, it’s an out. Plus, they practice all the time. It’s just not fair.”
Struggling to find the right words to say, I asked, “Son, have you thought about what the Yankees are giving up to be as good as they are?”
“While they have been practicing every day for several hours, what have you and your friends been doing?”
“Mostly swimming and riding bikes and hanging out at each others’ houses making up stuff to do, I guess.”
“Would you want to give all that up to be a game or two better?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes, I think I would. But some of those guys from the Yankees have changed since the summer started. I know a few of them from school, and they were pretty cool then. It kinda seems like they think they’re better than us now. I like the way the guys on our team like hanging out with each other whether we’re playing baseball or not.”
“You know, son, you will discover that every kid who loves baseball sees his career comes to an end sooner than he would like. Just ask Bryce’s dad about that sometime. Then, what will you have left if winning baseball games was your top priority?”
“A bunch of trophies, for one thing!” Rob smiled.
“You know all those awards I have from school and sports?” I asked.
“No, I…don’t think so.”
“Of course not. They’re in a box in the attic. Believe it or not, I have quite a few trophies from tournaments my team won when I was about your age. Don’t get me wrong; they meant a lot at the time. But do you know what means much more now than those trophies?”
The “More Than Trophies” Scene
The “More Than Trophies” scene of Coach Dave: Season One begs the question: What means more than trophies from your career? What will mean more than trophies to your ball-playing children?
Find out what narrator Brad Baker considers worth more than trophies in Coach Dave: Season One.