Sandlot Baseball – Of Blizzards and Breath Clouds
The first frost that arrived in Wagoner, Oklahoma, this weekend took me back to those first frosts of the late 50s playing ball behind Lincoln School in Braintree, Massachusetts. For some reason, I used to pound the mitt of my glove a little bit more during those seasons.
First frost on the sandlot wasn’t the worst thing in the world. More than anything else, it was a wake-up call to make sure you made the most of your at-bats and behind-the-back snatches in the outfield.
It served as a reminder to get in as many swings as you could because everyone knew what was coming. The frost that settled on the high grass in foul territory was like handwriting on the left field wall – its message: use your time well in the batter’s box and on the base paths. Dive for the low liners and take a little more time with your homerun trots. All too soon, white-outs and blizzards would bury our little rock-pile of a field.
The cold weather of November never slowed us down. It was fun blowing breath clouds or working up a sweat that would sometimes turn into little ice beads on your forehead. We’d play until we could no longer feel our fingers or toes. And we’d do that for as long as we could until the snow came.
And it always did.
As I walked through the yard last Saturday, I thought of my old baseball glove. I remembered the calming feel and sound of fist against leather. I wondered when the snow would fall.