The following was written Thursday, April 18 for my Socci On The Sox blog. As I work to add fresh content to this site, I invite you to read more of my writing for the Pawtucket Red Sox at www.pawsox.com.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a ballgame. But I know, and will never forget, the one day in my lifetime that I drove to the ballpark sensing no reason whatsoever to smile. It was today, despite the bright sunshine that welcomed me at the end of my commute from the outskirts of Boston to Pawtucket.
I walked into McCoy Stadium, toting my rolling briefcase, as well as the emotions all of us feel the day after Patriots’ Day 2013 — deep sadness and regret, raw anger and resolve, even pride and gratitude in and for the good who still outnumber the cowardly evil in our world. The news reports and press conferences I’d been listening to all morning continued rewinding in my head.
They were still playing, as if on a loop, when I dropped my bag off at the press box, and headed toward the front office downstairs. To get there, I walked through the stands, high above the left-field line. About the time I passed the third-base bag, I glanced left and saw two youngsters on a small plot of grass near the main entrance to the parking lot.
One of the kids was throwing. The other receiving. Waiting for the PawSox to play, they were having a catch.
I stopped, pulled my phone from a pocket and snapped a photo. Watching them made me think of my own childhood, and the simple, sheer pleasure of tossing a ball back and forth.
And of innocence, before it is lost, or taken away.
It was enough to make me smile.