Once upon a time, there was a baseball glove. It was a Franklin glove. Nothing fancy, nothing spectacular, just a little old baseball glove, in the hands of a young lad.
The glove soon found itself wrapped around a white, leather sphere, a baseball if you will. How fitting a place for such a round, cleverly stitched little sphere, nestled tightly into the pocket of the leather glove. The little lad slept very well that first night with the new glove still tucked tightly under his arm. He dreamed wonderful dreams that night. Dreams of running and throwing and catching and swinging a baseball bat. It was a night full of heavenly dreams of playing a heavenly game, baseball.
He awoke that next morning with the smell of newly bound leather, filling his lungs and heart with a passion that would continue to grow from that morning on. He wasn’t quite sure why he felt the way he did, but he didn’t want it to stop. He didn’t want it to stop, and quickly found himself that day, outside, trying to find his neighborhood friends to show off his new treasure to. All it took was one of his friends with their own glove, and he was off and running.
His older brother and Father had shown him how to throw and catch a ball, and as quickly as he was able to learn, he had always wondered what all this throwing and catching was all about. He knew it was a game, but until he slid his hand into that new glove for the first time, he didn’t really get it. He didn’t really know about the hidden passions and cravings that quite often followed right along with all of it. He didn’t know that there was a love of something waiting for him, and that it’s patience would surely withstand the test of an inquisitive young boy. He didn’t understand any of it really, until that day he slid his hand into the glove and then pounded the ball into its pocket, hard and fast. It was a rhythmic motion that seemed to suit him. It seemed to be naturally pure, and amazingly right. It seemed to have his name written all over it, and has he continued to pound the ball into the glove, he smiled, closed his eyes, and dreamed. He dreamed the same dreams that countless other young boys, just like him, dreamed every day. He dreamed of playing the game that he had watched on TV, and he loved the dream. He would grow to not only love the dream, but to live a little of it also.
Well, the glove finally got broken in, and the ball started to show the wear and tear of being pounded into the pocket a hundred and ten thousand times. He had taken a magic marker and proudly written his name across the adjustable leather wrist strap, making it official. It was his glove, and no one else’s. It belonged to him, and he would learn its craft, after all, the passion that had started in the pit of his stomach, had grown to consume a young boy. The passion had begun to show him the simple benefits of playing such a simple and pure sport. All of it, suited him fully, and as he began to play the game, he found himself yearning for learning it completely. The game, in a way, had become part of who he was. Not all of him, but a passionate part of him that shown itself in the sparkle that could be seen in his eyes.
He grew up loving everything about baseball, from the smell of the freshly cut grass, to the sound of the crowds that gathered to watch and play. He loved the way the ball sounded as it popped in the glove when you caught a line drive. He loved the sound of the ball, cracking off the end of a bat. He loved the feel when he stood on top of the pitcher’s mound and threw the ball towards home plate, and he could throw harder than just about anyone his age, or pretty close. He loved scooping up a hard hit ground ball, rolling towards him at blinding speeds. He loved home plate, second base, and the back stop. He loved the way his mother honked the car horn when something incredible was happening. He loved looking over his shoulder and seeing his dad, watching him play the game. He loved the chalk lines, running from home plate to first and third. He loved it all, and he craved it even more.
That Franklin glove stayed with him for a few years, until his hand no longer fit inside it. He, like his love of the game, had grown, and with it, his skills also grew. His instinctively competitive nature finally grabbed hold of him one day, and he learned that he loved to win. He loved the feeling that went along with it, but he continued to always love the game just a little bit more.
The young boy had grown into a young man, and his love for the game grew right along beside him. It was always there, reminding him to remember the simple truths, the simple desires, the simple, pure love of something that had grabbed hold of him back on that day when he slid his hand into that Franklin glove. That simple, small, Franklin baseball glove. The same glove that he would never forget. The same glove that had his name written across the leather. The same glove that gave him something to yearn for, to crave, to admire, and to love.
He remembers the sounds of the game. He remembers the shouts from the stands, the chatter of the infield, the roar of a run scored, and the strike outs. He remembers waiting for a game halting, summer thunderstorm to pass by. He remembers taking his hat off and wiping the sweat from his brow. He remembers squinting to see the pitch signal from the catcher. He remembers sliding head first into second base. He remembers throwing from third to first, in time to get the runner. He remembers digging the dirt out of his metal cleats with a wooden stick. He remembers putting on a freshly washed uniform, and adjusting the stirrup socks the way his dad taught him. He remembers walking out of the high school in his uniform, crossing the parking lot in his socks, heading towards the school bus that would take him and his teammates to an away game. He remembers it all, including the school letter “G” He received at a sports rally in High School. The same letter “G” that he had his mother sew on the back of his maroon windbreaker.
Such a truly simple thing, this Franklin baseball glove, and how it was able to define such a true, uninhibited passion, from the innocence of a young boy. Such a wonderful thing, this sport called baseball, and all that goes along with it. He will forever sit and listen in awe, as so many are able to enjoy so much about a sport so simple as baseball. The glove, the ball, the game, all of it, will forever hang on tightly to a corner of his heart. He will remember the feelings. He will remember the way it tugged at his core. He will remember it all, like it was yesterday.
But mostly, he will always remember the smell and the feel, as he slid his hand into his first baseball glove.