1st Time At Bat (thank You Hank Mudge)
Author: Luke Mudge


My cleats never fit me right..
I was a lanky small kid, too fast for my own feet that were growing faster than the rest of me..
Nothing fit me right.. my green "Kelly's Ice Cream" shirt for the neighborhood I grew up in with it's Yellow trim. Before technology was up to par with the sport, the bat was old and heavy, the glove that I had.. also not light by any means..
but none of that ever seemed to matter..
My dad gave me a bat, some shoes, a glove,, and said here hit this. He was the assistant coach of my pee wee baseball league..
my first hit, a line drive up the middle..
of course i know now anything in Pee Wee isn't that big of a deal.. As a 6 year old boy though, I was so happy to just be out there getting dirty and playing a game with my dad..

Im 34 in 2 months.. and i can think of that old glove that was bigger than my chest.. I didn't have the right tools to play the sport i grew to love and played very well later on in life.. but i had this mentality that even though i had never been on that diamond, wasn't in clothes that fit or had equipment that weighed me down.. that no matter what..
I was the best person on that field, because I was only facing myself.. nobody else mattered. as long as i was having fun...

And I did....
if ya asked me now something like, do you have the right tools and knowledge to do right throughout your day?
I'd say yes.. but because i am always stressed and always prepared and always on top of what im doing in "life"..
but i can see the old 7 year old that I was, with cleats that stood out way past his legs, and i can actually remember the noise they made running to the park in my neighborhood, I remember exactly how they felt.. I remember how soft the dirt felt sliding for no apparent reason into any base. I can remember the smell of the leather on my glove and the thick seams of the baseball that was at the time the size of my entire hand.
but again.. fun..
it wasn't a question.. i wasn't forced, it wasn't hidden behind any figurative wall.. it was just pure excitement,
Not knowing this little me was going to be competitive one day playing this game..
as long as i had my cleats i could run in the dirt.
as long as i had my glove i could catch that ball.
as long as i had that bat, I was going to hit that ball..
things were basic.. simple.. and as long as i did that..
we went to Kelly's Ice Cream and had banana splits with our dads and afterwards...

I sat here tonight, stressed about my future, about all the what if's and what might Be's. Kind of a waste if ya ask me. Though my position is by no means favorable and nobody would want to be in my shoes right now..
I see my wife.. talking about when she was younger, in school, in art class, and how creative she was, and how much fun she had, just doing what she loved.

I realized there was no thought behind it..
to her, she was just having fun, creating art. living..

As i inhale deeply and exhale, i realize that somehow in that short moment that I watched Melissa looking at what she was making, she inadvertently brought me back in time, took me back to a time where my superhero worked at the Post office.. and my blanket worked at as a nurse..
i would dream of dinosaurs and monsters, but wake up to sunshine and some kind of colored happy cereal and warm cup of cocoa.
if it wasn't baseball it was some kind of other sport.. basketball in the driveway, it didn't matter, it was something that made me smile..
I realize i need to find that person again, that realized what he had in front of him, didn't require thought, it didn't require any special tools, it just works, what we have just works, everything around us in our chaotic lifestyle that we live with our zoo of animals and very close small group of friends we call family..
That no matter what doesn't fit right, it has it's purpose,
that what i don't have control of doesn't control the outcome,
and that even though Kelly's Ice Cream closed shop 20 years ago.. that there is always room for what brought us to that shop. that honest genuine innocent, that we once called fun..


Comments on this poem/writing:

shiloh ( -- Monday, September 21 2015, 01:02 am

those were happy times, warm and happy and smiles.

I remember those days, too, Luke. They were good days, fun times, and I was proud of you then, as I'm proud of you today. But it was fun being your coach, and I enjoyed watching you play. You will never know the feelings I had, just seeing you play ball. I think I could write a poem abut that.
shiloh.... ( -- Thursday, October 1 2015, 02:12 am

thank you....

just re-read this, Luke....
just read slowly, and understood your line, "back to a time where my superhero worked at the Post office.."
and I am so honored. and I am so proud of you.
Name:                                           Remember Me

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