Over the course of my life, I have spent many hours playing catch. Those have been some of my favorite hours. Nothing complicated, just a simple game of catch. I started at a young age with my siblings. Maybe it was softball, or football, or a frisbee. Two people and a little equipment and off you go. At times it was several of us together, but that would morph into something else, or end in some kind of disagreement.
Playing catch fits a pair the best. My sister Ruth and I created two spots in our yard that were grass-less and down to dirt from playing so much softball catch there. We went on to play outfield next to each other on our high school softball team, and then spent some summers on the same slow-pitch teams.
We were both decent players and contributors on our teams. The hours of catch were fun, but they were also skill-building. That was before sports were so intense and expectations so high for young athletes. If we played some ball in the off season it was because we wanted to and because we enjoyed the sport, pure and simple. There was more fun and less pressure.
Over those early years, I enjoyed many games of catch with different siblings and a variety of options. Frisbee was always a nice change of pace. I loved trying to run down that spinning, floating piece of plastic.
In more recent years, my steady partner for catch has been my son Sam. I cherish the many times we have played catch, from the time he was a toddler and now as a teen. Our games of catch have marked his growth. We started small–in space and with the balls used. As he grew, we needed more space and went from child to youth to adult sizes for balls and other accessories.
The backyard, the side street, and the park nearby have all been our playgrounds. We have traveled with a ball of some sort rolling around in the trunk and stopped to play at parks to get a break from the road. Baseball and football have been his favorites, and sometimes frisbee.
It is bittersweet to think about how it used to be me who worried about how hard I was throwing a baseball or football so it wouldn’t be too hard for Sam to catch. Now, he throws hard enough that I am the one who wonders if I will be able to make the catch.
Not only are we playing catch, we also make conversation. Nothing too deep usually, but it’s a good way to share time and talk about the sport at hand or whatever is going on in his life or our lives.
As he gets older, I know our games of catch will be fewer. But I treasure each time we have picked up a ball and headed outside. Time is fleeting. I am grateful we have caught some pleasant memories on the way.