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Baseball - The truly American game. Reminiscent of sand lot ball fields and kids pretending to be their favorite homerun hitter or strikeout pitcher. Where coaches with cheeks full of sunflower seeds yell phrases like "play's at first" or "outfield going two" or "get baseball ready!" There really is nothing like it.

...And then there is little league. Where every parent believes with all their soul that their precious little player couldn't possibly be out. That the last pitch was clearly a strike. Or had that first-baseman not been standing in baseline little Cletus would have certainly been awarded a trophy and a college scholarship. It ain't fair coach, I tell you, it ain't fair!!

Ha ha... Even with the inevitable drama, baseball is a wonderful game and a large part of the American experience. From small town rural school districts to the big city pros, there is nothing like a good baseball game.

I never played on a real team growing up. We lived on a quarter horse farm in nowhere south Texas. The school was so bad in our town that my parents lied about where we lived so we could attend Calallen ISD which was nearly an hour away. Needless to say, being dirt poor and with four of us kids at home, playing on a school sports team was out of the question. My dad coached me on pitching at one point, even though I would never have the opportunity to use that skill, and it turned out that I had kind of a natural knack for it.

Fast forward 40+ years and here I am assistant coaching Lukas' 10U baseball team and feeling very much like a monkey doing a math problem. To be honest, I am learning about baseball along with these kids. Now, since I was never able to play sports growing up I have never been a sports fan. I ran cross-country in high school after my parents separated and we moved back to Marshall, and then got really into triathlon and especially cycling as an adult, but even then I never cared to watch it if I wasn't participating. Today, for the first time in my life I caught myself wondering what channel and time I might find a game on TV. Ok, so I may be evolving into a baseball fan.

My two younger children are both playing ball this year. Lukas on the 10U team and Vivian on the... hmm.. what do you call 1st grade girls softball? Anyway, they both play and could not be more different. Lukas has turned out to be a pretty good player, occasionally playing catcher, very rarely pitching, sometimes playing third base, and most often in left field. He has improved tremendously this year, but has had to work hard for every bit of it. Vivian on the other hand is naturally athletic and everything with sports comes easy to her. It doesn't hurt that she (like her mother) is a head taller than everyone else with legs so long she only has to take two steps between bases. That might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

One of the things about baseball that I love is watching these two kids put in the work and become better than when they started. I could not be more proud of them. They may not be the best players yet, but they both work very hard to get better and it is working. This week Lukas got the play catcher for two innings and then landed a beautiful drive which put him on second base. It may not seem like much, but for him it was huge and I was so very proud of him.

Ok, well that's enough for a brewery website blog. I know it had nothing to do with beer, but it does highlight the importance of community and that is a big part of who we are as a local brewery.

So, go watch a local baseball game. Cheer for some kids. Celebrate your community by being involved in it. Donate, sponsor, or simply volunteer to help. I promise it will make the world a better place!

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