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Passing the Glove to the Next Generation

My oldest son (age 6) has just started tee-ball practice. (That’s baseball for kids who aren’t old enough to pitch or hit off a pitch.) We’ve been to two practices, and games will start in a couple weeks. There’s 15 kids on his team, 3 of them girls. I expected more girls. He played soccer a couple years ago (at age 4) and his team was 5 boys and 5 girls.

I’ve never been a baseball fan. It’s really a boring sport to me. Two hours of game for excitement that can be shown in a two-minute highlight film. But I played little league, and I threw a ball around with my dad when I was young.

Anyway, when we signed him up for this league, at his request, it got me interested in my old ball and glove. I contacted my dad and asked him to find my old stuff from my little league days. He found the ball and glove, and I got them the next time I was in my hometown.

My son quickly took a liking to my old glove. It’s dark, well worn, and very loose in the fold. He likes it better than the glove we specifically bought for him, and he wants to use it in his practice and games. This is a wonderfully sweet thing, and it’s a terribly frightening thing. I love that he wants to use my old glove — I mean, that’s a made-for-TV-movie scenario, right there. But I fear it will fall apart, get lost, or something. It’s very sentimental to me; it’s a treasured item from my youth.

But I’m slowly massaging my sentimental attachment to allow for more memories to be added to it. My son can add his own memories to my 30+ year-old glove. Already, a couple of other tee-ball dads have commented on the old glove, in a good way. All the other kids have brand new gloves, bright and stiff.

Today I got out a pen to write my son’s name in the glove. I can still see my own name written in two spots, and I can even, just barely, make out my old address, too. The writing is faded, and in my mom’s handwriting. I wrote my son’s name on a new spot on the glove, in permanent marker. That makes it official.

It actually feels pretty cool. Although I still have a bit of an anxious knot in my stomach at the thought of something happening to it. I think I could handle it tearing or falling apart, but I so strongly hope he doesn’t put it down somewhere and forget it. It would break my heart to loose it. But I should just suck it up and get over it. With writing his name in it, I’m passing it on now. It’s not mine anymore, it’s his. With any luck, 30-some years from now, he’ll call me on the phone and ask me to find his old ball glove. And he’ll pick it up the next time he visits.


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