Surprises at the ballgame

Published 11:20 pm Thursday, April 30, 2009

Even after nine years of being together, my wife continues to amaze me.

Whether it’s her generous spirit or just her delicious homemade banana bread, Annette continually does things that make me proud to be her husband.

Last weekend, I found yet another reason to brag about her: She’s got a natural talent for baseball.


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In the midst of a heat wave on Sunday, we headed to Harbor Park in Norfolk with our three grandchildren to watch the Norfolk Tides crush the Durham Bulls 7-0.

I’m not a big fan of baseball — I think of it as 10 minutes of action crammed into a three-hour span — but attending a minor league game can be a lot of fun, and it was a great chance for us to share a new experience with our grandkids, so we headed to the park after church.

With excellent seats behind home plate, we settled in to answer a never-ending stream of questions, especially from 5-year-old Noah, who had never seen a baseball game.

The kids liked watching the antics of the Tides’ mascot, Rip Tide, and understood the game well enough to cheer whenever someone would get a hit.

Noah has a low tolerance for heat, and by the seventh inning, he and his grandmother left me in our sun-drenched seats with the other two kids while they scouted out a shaded place to sit behind us.

They hadn’t been in their new seats long when a high foul ball cleared the net behind home plate and bounced hard off the aisle between the first and second sections.

Watching to be sure I wouldn’t get hit, I saw the ball bounce high into the air, and then I saw my wife stand up, raise her arm into the air and catch the ball with one hand.

Ten-year-old Stephen’s mouth was agape, and I joined the rest of the stadium in cheering my wife for her great catch. Being the sweet grandma that she is, as she sat back down, she handed the ball to Noah, who promptly threw it back toward the field and watched as another boy ran into the seating area where it landed, grabbed it and headed away to his own seat.

Noah, you should understand, has been taught to return things that don’t belong to him. And so he did.

From across the stadium, one could hear the collective shock of the fans who watched the brief exchange. My wife, though, was the only one who heard Noah’s response when she explained to him that he should have kept the ball: “That’s OK, Grandma. You can just catch me another one.”

I may have been amazed at her catch. Clearly, though, her 5-year-old grandson thinks she can do anything. I’m starting to wonder about that, myself.