Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Watching the Pip Squeaks from the Cheap Seats

There are a ton of kids in our neighborhood. There are some condos across from us, and kids are almost always playing near our yard, if they aren't sleeping or in school. Now that the weather is nice, there's a huge group of kids playing baseball right outside from 3:30 until the sun goes down. The condos seem to cater to single-parent families, so I think a lot of them are latch-key kids. It's sad, really, that when we sit down to eat, there's no one calling them in for dinner. They range in age from about six to twelve, and are all just "full of it"- but fun to watch. I see an obvious ministry opportunity here, and already have chocolate chips on the grocery list just so I have some extra cookies around to bring out to them sometime. If their mom can't be around, I'll do a little mothering...they're basically in my yard, I might as well.

I'd post a picture of them, but I don't think it'd be a good idea to post pictures of someone else's kids on the Internet. Need some help picturing them? Think The Sandlot. There you go- that's all you need. These kids are hilarious. They use anything they find laying around for bases. They're raggedy and disheveled after a long day at school, they're scrawny and hopelessly untalented. (Picture 15 "Smalls"...) But, they've got a lot of heart. I can tell they love to play. The balls rarely meet a glove and the bat pretty much never does either, but, they sure can talk some smack. When one of them misses, you hear a smattering of immature banter, "Nice one, try to catch it next time" etc. Then the kid under attack will say something like, "It was the wind you guys. Knock it off." (And he's legitimately using the wind as an argument... it's hilarious.) They even use our high retaining wall as a "dugout", so we've got front row seats on our deck. Oh, it's entertaining.

Yesterday there was a new kid out there- about 14. He was older, wiser, more mature- and this kid knew what he was doing. He easily could have hit that ball so far out they'd never be able to find it, but I could tell he'd hit it just far enough to impress them, but still give 'em a chance. He'd be up to bat, and the kids would run out really far into the "outfield" with their gloves in the air and prepare themselves to be amazed. He'd hit the ball about three houses away, then run the bases- really slow. As I prepared the grill for our steaks, tears came to my eyes- this kid- he's their Benny Rodriguez. He was quiet, patient, careful to give them pointers and encouragement, and tried to hide his face when he laughed at them (most of the time, anyway). What a great kid. I'm sure he'd die if any of his friends at school saw him playing with all those pip squeaks, but he's a great kid. Jim and I have had a good chuckle at these kids for a few days now- and I'm so glad they've got a Benny.


kelly said...

Aw, that's so sweet!

Anonymous said...

I love you!!

Karen Elizabeth said...

even better than the munich airport, as far as bourne identity goes, is the sound of the ambulance and police vehicles. every time I hear one, I feel like I'm in a movie:) Good to hear from you!

Kristen said...

I LOVE the Sandlot!

And think it is fabulous that you get a front row to it every night. What a great opportunity you do have, being so close. If nothing else, they get to see what it is like to have 2 parents who love each other!

Great post!

Ris said...

Neat post! Love your heart for the kiddos; its awesome.