The baseball shown above is approximately ten years old. At least, that’s how long it has been in my possession. In my early elementary school years I attended an Episcopalian school where my father worked as a coach for the high school baseball team the year I was in second and third grade. The graduating class of my third grade year was especially dear to me because of a “buddy” program the school had done back when I was a kindergartener. A ninth grader is paired with a kindergartener as their older buddy and I can still remember making various crafts with my buddy, a girl named Sarah.
The most influential student in the senior class was a boy by the name of Todd. During the whole of the baseball season, I spent my afternoons with the team. I knew that when they didn’t have batting practice, I was allowed on the field to play with my plastic horses and make dirt huts. All the while I was mindful of the players and they were mindful of me. Todd was different from the other boys though. He had a great amount of maturity that I recognized even as a child. I would even say that Todd acted as though he were my older brother that year. I remember him coming to get me from my class at the end of the day and walk with me to the boys’ practice. There was one game in particular that I vividly remember sitting in the dugout which did not have any protective fencing to inhibit a foul ball from flying into the dugout. I sat in the back of the dugout and Todd positioned himself in front of me in order to protect me from any wild hits. It was these kinds of selfless acts that made such a big impact on eight year-old me. So when I was presented with this baseball signed by the whole team, I knew it’d be a lifelong keepsake.