I eat peanuts when I watch baseball. Roasted, boiled, or otherwise. I don’t care which kind. It’s nostalgia, really. I don’t attend ball games without them.
They have roasted peanuts for sale at this kid's baseball game. Six bucks per bag. That’s highway robbery, I know, but the money goes to a good cause. Baseball camp for team-members whose parents can't afford it.
The boy sitting next to me is eating peanuts. Let’s call him Derrick.
Derrick’s younger brother is on the team, a magnificent athlete.
I ask Derrick if he plays ball. “Not really,” he says. “I got asthma, doctors said I shouldn’t.”
Derrick has more than asthma. He has severe diabetes, and a few other related health problems that make him different than your typical Sears-and-Roebuck twelve-year-old.
His mother overhears us talking. She interjects.
“Derrick’s good at ART,” she says. “Show him some of your art, honey.”
Derrick is thoroughly embarrassed.
She brings out a cellphone and thumbs through photos of landscapes, portraits, and colorful drawings.
“These are good,” I remark.
“Not THAT good,” says self-effacing Derrick, still recovering from the humiliation of his braggart mother.
The crack of a bat.
Derrick’s brother smacks one. Parents go wild. Derrick’s brother runs. The third-baseman makes an error. Derrick’s brother sprints for home. It’s going to be close.
Derrick is cheering so hard that my ears will never be the same. He excuses himself and leaves for a refill on peanuts.
His mother tells me Derrick has gotten good at being supportive of the other kids. It hasn't always been easy. But then, it was Derrick who started the peanut-effort to raise money for baseball camp.
“Sometimes I’m mad…