Home Plate

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Sitting cross-legged in the sweltering sun, Leonard leaned back and began to stretch out onto the ground. His upper back hit home plate with a thud as he misjudged the pace of the descent. "How graceful," he thought, as he cautiously looked around the crowded park, hoping no one had seen. Not an eye turning in his direction. "Good. Just the way I like it." And with that his gaze turned to the sky overhead, a pale blue, and the lazy clouds meandering across it.

From his place atop the diamond, Leonard felt at peace and quietly contented. Such a feeling was partly due to the dominance of his softball team this afternoon as they crushed the competition. But, to Leonard, winning was just the cherry on top of his love of baseball - and softball, now that he was nearing the ripe old age of 50. Days like today made him feel like he was 19 again, playing with his college baseball team, filled with the energy and promise of youth. That energy returned when he took the mound of this tiny baseball diamond in the middle of a large park - this speck on earth - hardly noticed even by the people passing by. Yet from that mound, Leonard felt the disappointments and struggles of the last 30 years disappear. His focus returned. And although he couldn't throw a fastball any longer - nor should he in this softball game - the goal was just the same as all those years ago. Focus on home. Throw over the plate. Then paint the black. Leave the batter at home. Hold the runners on. Don't let them score. Don't let them get home.

For in this game everyone is focused on home. The batter standing at home waiting for the pitch. Every runner aiming to cross home. The catcher crouched behind home waiting for the ball, or a base-runner, to hit him. The pitcher, vulnerable from that elevated position in the middle of the field, delivering the ball home with every pitch. Whether defending it or seeking it, it's all about home.

Created: Aug 04, 2012

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