My youngest stands and waits for her first softball tryout on this cloudy Saturday morning, windchill 20 degrees. I turn my back to the wind and hold her close, my body a physical shield for hers as we shiver in the cold.
The newness of her pink-trimmed cleats and glove testify to her lack of experience and give weight to my irrational fear that she’ll break her nose when the first ball is thrown in her direction. She’s content to stand with me instead of joining the other girls that play catch on and off the field.
I’ve grown invisible at the ballpark in recent years, out-of-place and isolated, while my husband coaches and I’m pulled in other directions. This morning he handles tryouts for our son and I do this new softball thing alone.
Assuming I stand amidst friendships grown during seasons of shared bleachers and schedules, it doesn’t occur to me that the other moms don’t already know each other until I take a chance and begin conversation with two friendly faces. These ladies share my story: 8-year-old daughters who’ll play for the first time.
By the time our girls leave the field (no broken noses), friendship, tentative and new, has taken root and I’m glad I made the effort; it’s easier for me to keep my own company at the ballpark or just sit with my kids. I hope Rosie and Carrie’s daughters play on a team with mine.
When was the last time you made a new friend?