I love baseball – not the major league stuff with all of the hoopla, I mean the teenage-level, (not even 3&2) real baseball on real grass. There really are differences, and I’m not talking about the fact that no one walks by my fold-out chair with a hot dog, peanuts and a cold beer.

Recreation-league baseball is a treat that only the luckiest of parents get to enjoy, and I love watching it, because my son loves playing it. There is something about a daily smacking of about 300 balls with one’s bat that brings out the exhaustion (I mean happiness!) in a teenager with testosterone. And, that’s just practice.

Come game day, the real fun begins… for both of us.

Him – “Where are my cleats/hat/glove/bat/water/hitting glove/bag/sunflower seeds/socks???”

Me – “Did I wear your cleats/socks/seeds last???”

Him – “Mom, we’re going to be late!”

Seriously, I really do enjoy the season. He packs up whatever he can find that resembles baseball equipment, and I pack up my lounge chair (yes, with a foot-rest), my cooler, sunscreen, snacks, magazines, a blanket (for sibling/friend sitting), and a husband, and off we go. The grass is cool, the players are so happy to be hitting and catching and running…, and the parents are so happy to be sitting, chatting, munching, and cheering.

We park about 12 yards from the field (for free). There is no concrete on which to burn our feet. The breeze blows, and we position our chairs under the trees, or in/out of the sun, depending on the day. The boys never care what the weather is, as long as there is a bucket of balls and an opposing team that shows up every now and then.

There’s not one commercial playing in the background. No announcements, no megaplexes with snack stations, no numbers hanging from large fences (“Look for field 37, Harold!”). There aren’t scads of other teams playing around us with 385 cars hiding ours in big parking lots. It’s just us and the kids and the baseballs and the grass.The Boys of Summer

The sun takes a little longer to set at the height of the season, and the parents marvel at how the boys have grown, and how the team has improved, and how much they’ve learned since we started all of this.

I don’t have anything against big-league ball. It is a wonderful form of entertainment. But for my money, it’s a local ball field with a picnic and some friends I’ve made over the years in my comfy chair, and some worn-out teenagers with red cheeks at the end of the evening that gives me the biggest entertainment value in these parts. It’s part of the beauty of living in the Midwest.