I can pinpoint years of my life by baseball memories. I grew up in a dirt pile off the first base line while my father played city rec league in an extension of a promising baseball career that went array during the Vietnam War. He played well into my teen years, often being asked to join teams filled with younger guys, and I saw every game—mostly because I loved my dad, but also because there’s no better aphrodisiac for a sixteen-year-old girl than a summer baseball league made up of home-on-break college guys.
With formative years like that it’s no wonder I fell in love with a baseball player. I remember watching him play for our high school. I also remember surprising him with a baseball-related graduation present—a weekend trip to see his favorite team. And I remember when he left to play baseball in college, hundreds of miles away. I hated baseball then.
But I got over it, and I stopped blaming baseball for keeping him away from me, and eventually we were together again, married, and I was pregnant, rubbing what we called the Buddha-belly as a sort of good luck charm during games. I remember palming my swollen stomach and whispering to my unborn child, “Help Daddy hit it hard,” whenever my husband was up to bat. I also remember it didn’t really work.
Years later, I remember living in Wisconsin with two kids and missing more games than I wanted to because mosquitos were epidemic, and they ate the new baby alive during night games. Day games weren’t much better, because the baby needing nursing and changing, and my three-year-old talked incessantly, asking me questions about why Dad was doing this, why Dad wasn’t doing that, and I was too tired to think straight let alone answer. I hated baseball…again.
And then life threw us a curve, and my husband stopped playing, and we grew up faster in those next several years than we ever imagined we could. And we both missed baseball. Terribly. Until the day our oldest, then eight years old, stepped up to home plate for his first official at bat, having never played t-ball or organized ball of any sort, because we’d moved too much to know the luxury of that. One swing of the bat, and baseball was back.
Eventually, my husband returned to baseball, too, as a team physician. These days, the sport sets the pace of our lives, and I’m (usually) fine with that. I’m especially fine with it this season, because I have my own baseball-related things to tend to.
Save My Soul: Book One in the Kemmons Brothers Baseball Series is my debut novel from Crimson Romance. In the book, a struggling psychotherapist who still lives at home falls for a bitter, divorced baseball agent. You can read more about the book and me by visiting my website: http://elleyarden.com and following me on twitter: @elleywrites.