, Salem, MA


June 5, 2013

Letter: Reconnecting with Little League roots

To the editor:

My son Seamus and I arrived outside the CVS in Hannaford Plaza shortly after 1 p.m., slightly late after weaving our way through Lowell Street traffic. I am the assistant coach of the Indians, T-ball Division. My son is one of our “star” players — we consider them all stars, actually. We took over the buckets from the Mets’ coach and his son and tried to look appealing to the busy shoppers. It was time to beg for money for the benefit of the Peabody Western Little League.

This was not how I imagined my reunion with baseball — many years after I last scampered around Little League basepaths myself. After 10 minutes, I wasn’t happy. I mostly stood at attention, but occasionally used a ledge in the wall as an occasional uncomfortable seat. It seemed few were in a giving mood. Wasn’t the recession over yet, at least in West Peabody?

Gradually the donations got steadier. My son worked his smile on the passers-by. Many shoppers stopped to say a word or two. One man said he saw Indians at the Dunkin’ Donuts and asked “Are only Indians collecting money today?” I nodded, because it certainly felt that way to me. He added that he had been an Indian as a boy in Lynn, so it was good to see Indians again.

A woman gave us a dollar and added that my son was “the cutest baseball player that she had ever seen.” I thanked her for the contribution and silently admired her good taste. A woman stopped by to chat about her son, whose Little League coach asked what position he wanted to play, and he said he wanted to be a pitcher. The coach said he would probably play outfield. The woman noted that her son just received a baseball scholarship to Northeastern University — as a pitcher! Many others observed to me that their sons had played T-ball and loved it. Two young boys, maybe about 12, came screaming toward us on their bikes. I pulled my son aside, considering all boys over 5 to be reckless daredevils. My mouth dropped open when one of the boys stopped next to me, pulled out his wallet and gave me a dollar.

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