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Saturday was a sad, sad day in the Kendall household.
I had already decided to write my column this week about a wiffleball game I had been planning the last couple of months. With the anticipation of the game in mind for a while now, I had envisioned some good story lines — maybe I would pitch a no-hitter or hit a game-winning homer. Heck, I thought about taping the game and making a highlight reel, maybe the top-10 plays. I was ready.
But my dreams were shot down when the rain decided to show its ugly face and stick around all day during the 4th of July. I depressingly watched the drizzle turn into a steady downpour, and tried to find enough tarps to cover up the diamond infield I had made to perfection. Instead, because of the rain, I spent this year’s July 4th festivities indoors playing bowling and golf on Wii. It was fun — even though I was nowhere near my best score of 112 in bowling and could not get under par in golf — but it definitely wasn’t wiffleball.
I had turned the small lot behind my barn into my very own small baseball field — something I had wanted to do since I was an eight-year-old Ozzie Smith and road my bike around the base paths about a thousand times until a muddy path was formed. Almost 20 years later, I tilled the diamond and a pitcher’s circle, used a roller to smooth it out, sprayed out grass killer and spent hours raking the dirt until it resembled a professional infield. For the finishing touches, I put up yellow foul poles, and painted the batter’s box, foul lines and an on-deck batter’s circle. My wife — who doesn’t hide the fact that she’s a little upset about the time I’ve spent on the field — put a stop to my ideas of building a dugout, bleachers and starting a league. Actually, I’m thankful she let it go as far as it did.
I will admit that I probably did spend too much time getting it ready, especially since we didn’t even get in one inning. There was no national anthem. No first pitch. No runs scored. No swing-batter-batter chants. No diving catches. And definitely no no-hitter or game-winning homer. There was only an empty lot with a muddy infield and a depressing-looking outfield.
The only time I got any playing time was when I sent my two-year-old daughter, Emma, out to left field a few days before to hit pop flies and grounders to her. All she really wanted to do, though, was roll around in the dirt and hit my shins with the plastic bat. Then, I tried to get her to run around the bases after I helped her bunt, but when I hollered for her to run home then that’s, literally, what she did.
So this year’s 4th of July came and left with no fireworks, no fun outdoor activities and, more importantly, no wiffleball. Like the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” Yes, they did come. I just didn’t know they would bring the rain with them.
Tommie Kendall can be reached at (502)845-2858 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his Twitter account at www.twitter.com/hcsports.