FOUR DAYS IN JULY
FOUR DAYS IN JULY
The following was written at approximately 3pm, on Monday, July 20, 2015:
Around 7pm tonight, regardless of what the scoreboard reads, regardless if our boys are racing around the outfield holding yet another banner (that would be eight, by my count) or wiping their eyes in the outfield grass, tears will be shed. If the latter, by the boys; if the former, by the parents and family members in attendance.
It is fitting, in so many ways, that this game is being played on our field, in our park, in our town.
If we are on the wrong end of the game, our boys will finish their Little League careers right where they started, and bring to a close a chapter – more like a book – of their lives that has provided us and them with too many memories – and smiles – to count. They will leave their field one last time, knowing that they left it all out there. Rare is the group of kids who could do what they have done just to get to this moment. Three wins in three days; battling against bigger and stronger opponents (did anyone see Rose’s thighs?), freaky weather (who has ever had a summer game delayed in Southern California for lightning and thunder?), and a blind and capricious umpire. And yet, they did it. They played together – the Fearless Fourteen – each making a contribution to help us travel the “Road to Monday”.
If we are able to pull this off, it will be one of the greatest stretches of baseball I have ever witnessed. On Thursday night I texted Mike to say that the documentary, “Four Days in October” was required viewing by the team. I am not sure who watched, but I know Jake and I did. Over four nights in October, 2004, the Red Sox “shocked the world” (in the words of Kevin Millar) and came back from a 3-0 deficit to the Yankees, winning four straight, winning the pennant, allowing them to eventually win the World Series. Those were the same odds we were facing Thursday night. And, if we win, we will have done what the Red Sox did – battling the elements (Game Six was delayed due to rain – sound familiar?), dealing with fatigue (Derek Lowe pitched Game 7 on 2-days’ rest, and then pitched 6 innings giving up 1 run – sound familiar?), and overcoming questionable umpiring (however, in Game 7 in New York, the umpires overruled themselves twice to get the call right – as of now, we have not been so lucky). Thus, in so many ways, we have taken the road of the 2004 Red Sox, and if we win, will have followed in their championship footsteps.
Win or lose, it has been a pleasure to watch these boys play for the past seven years; it has been amazing/exhausting/exhilarating/years-off-life-taking to watch these boys play these past three summers; and it has been an honor to have made such good friends and watch all of us grow – as players, parents, and a community.
Either way, Mazel Tov!
And now we know what happened. Duke threw the game of his life (and yet, we hope he has a few more of those in him); Jagger led off with a game-tying homerun; our opponent stopped fielding the ball; and we kept piling on runs. When Jack’s liner softly fell past a drawn-in infield, the fight was officially over, and the celebration began.
These “Four Days in July” are something that we won’t soon forget. 4 days, 3 mercies, 2 walk-off homeruns, and 1 opponent essentially having their hearts ripped out to the point that they simply had no heart left to even make a routine play.
Over the past three years we have been treated to so much, there is really no telling when and where this journey will end. Dan Chasek asked this back in June, 2013: “Why not us?” After what I witnessed last weekend, I have no earthly reason why not.