A Kid’s Game

Game Three of the World Series is on television. I’m sitting outside on my porch with a cat in my lap. It’s chilly outside.

I’m watching a portable TV, rooting for the Atlanta Braves. And while I know I have been writing a lot about baseball lately, like most hapless Braves fans my age, I’ve been waiting over twenty years for this game.

Earlier, I set up the television on the porch with an extension cord so I could watch the game while grilling burgers. Old school. Because this is what the men from my childhood did.

They’d watch a ten-inch screen, outdoors, sip from longneck bottles, and grill fatty beef over charcoal briquettes.

To this day I don’t know why those men watched ballgames so intently. Baseball is essentially a kid’s game played by very rich twenty-year-olds and has no real bearing on the immediate future. But there you are.

Those old men sat on the porch to watch games and scream at the TV as though their health depended on it. Therefore, so must I.

No matter how old I get, why is it that I always feel like I’m imitating my parents? I once heard it said that we are all just thirteen years old, just trying to make our dad proud. I believe that.

Anyway, tonight I can hear the ballgame playing from the house next door, blaring through the thin mobile-home windows. My neighbor is an old woman who has two small dogs that resemble cotton balls with eyes.

These animals are currently yapping at a pitch that’s shrill enough to affect the migratory patterns of birds. This incessant yapping drowns out the televised game and adds a special touch to tonight’s World Series. A game which, in case I didn’t mention it, I have waited upwards of twenty years for.

ANNOUNCER: There’s the wind up…


ANNOUNCER: Aannnnd the pitch…

DOG: Yap! Yap! Yap!

ANNOUNCER: Riley hits an infield—


There are also other sounds happening in my neighborhood. Such as the sounds of children. It’s a little late for kids to be playing outside, but it’s a weekend and I’ve never known a kid who didn’t push his or her bedtime limits.

The sounds of their laughter carry across our street, interspersed with the sounds of their heated arguments.

Eventually, I hear someone’s mother yell their names, followed by: “Get in this house, right now, or so help me…!”

Ah, October.

Sometimes I truly feel as though I am stuck in a perpetual October of my own childhood. Those formative years leave such an impact on you, you cannot forget them. There are some days when I feel like I never really grew up at all, almost as though adulthood is a dream.

My brain still feels the same as it did when I was thirteen years old, playing outside, pushing the boundaries of my bedtime to dangerous limits.

I can still hear the sounds of my mother shouting, “Get inside this house, right now, or so help me…!” Followed by a few expletives uttered under her breath.

We played outside when we were kids, rarely indoors. Not even during the rain did we stay inside. There were no video games in our era, no cellphones, no internet, no helicopter parenting, no gluten-free products.

No, our universe consisted solely of bicycles, basketballs, and mud. We knew every climbable oak in the woods. We stayed outside until our little-kid sweat soured and made us smell like the jayvee football team laundry bag.

And on evenings when we played neighborhood games of baseball, beneath a sherbet sunset, we played until dark so that none of us could see the ball careening toward our tender baby faces.

And this is how Lee Anniston lost his front two incisors. Also, that’s how I once got hit by a fastball in an anatomical region I will not name.

I’ll never forget the night I was hit by that fastpitch in that unnamed area. It was actually a pretty serious injury. After the frightening black bruises appeared, my mother took me to the doctor.

The doctor was an ancient man who wore a tweed suit and a pocketwatch fob. He looked at my bruised area and said, “Cheer up son, you can always adopt.”

Different times.

Tonight, those olden times seem about six million miles behind me. Truthfully, I’m not sure when it all happened—when did I grow up? When did I start talking about my youth and making it sound more magical and carefree than it really was?

But then, storytelling is a rite of passage among those who age. A privilege. All aging humans do this. Therefore, so must I.

There’s no cure for aging, but if you ask me, baseball comes pretty close. Because every time I watch a ballgame, I’m still thirteen years old, just trying to make my dad proud.


  1. Lyn - October 30, 2021 11:05 am

    We’re going to watch baseball today as our grandson is a 16 (his birthday was yesterday) year old left handed pitcher. You would like him Sean, he lives, eats and sleeps with baseball on his mind. He called my husband the day after the trades were over and told him what some of the teams should have done. My husband says he could be the next Billy Bean! I’m rooting for Atlanta, too although we live in Nationals territory, we had our day a few years ago.

  2. Sandi. - October 30, 2021 11:16 am

    Sean, when the Atlanta Braves win this year’s coveted pennant, I’ll be thinking of you cheering and grinning and maybe even leaping with joy!

  3. Suellen - October 30, 2021 12:06 pm

    The older we get the more we live in the before times I think. Especially for me when at 67 we moved back to the town I was born and raised in. Back to the very same neighborhood. The street I grew up on is .3 miles away. My mind seems to be constantly wandering back to those days recognizing all the changes and how many of the people from my childhood are no longer with us. Some days it feels like mourning because I wasn’t here to mourn them then. My brother has been busy digging up old photos and that has helped to bring them alive in my memory again.

  4. Nancy Wright - October 30, 2021 12:33 pm

    GO BRAVES!!!

  5. Bud McLaughlin - October 30, 2021 12:37 pm

    Down memory lane …

  6. Shelton A. - October 30, 2021 12:42 pm

    Braves up 2 games to 1! Go Braves! Beat the Houston Cheaters! I became a Braves fan when all the games were on cable TV…when the best thing the Braves had going for them was Skip, Ernie, and the gang. They could make another loss into a laugh riot. To be doing this without Acuna, Jr. is so impressive. Go Braves! Stay 13 for a few more days, Sean. Sorry about the “Yap” dogs.

  7. Jeanette - October 30, 2021 12:58 pm

    Sean, I’m pretty sure he is.

  8. Susan Kennedy - October 30, 2021 1:41 pm

    We are ALL proud of you! Go Braves!!

  9. Kathy Smith - October 30, 2021 2:32 pm

    Sean, I truly hope the Braves win the series for you. I am not a sports fan. . .never have understood why people enjoy watching sports on TV and yell at the players! When I was growing up in the 50’s, my dad watched the Friday night fights every week. Why would anyone enjoy watching 2 human beings beating each other up? I never understood that. I also grew up in a time when we would play outside until dark every day. Get up in the morning, eat our breakfast, clean the house and head outside to play with our neighborhood friends or go to our cousins house and play all day. . .maybe stay a couple of days. Our parents didn’t have to be helicopter parents because they had the whole town watching and would know if we got into mischief before we got home! I still live in the same neighborhood, same block where I grew up. Several of my cousins also still live in this town. When I was raising my kids, they had the same freedom. Those were the good old days!! None of my grandchildren have had the same luxury of childhood freedom. They could not just play outside and ride their bikes all over town enjoying freedom! They had to always be in eyesight of their parents or grandparents. I would drive the 2 1/2 hours every Friday night when I got off of work to spend the weekend with them because I knew the day would come when they would rather spend the weekend with their friends than Grandma. We would rake all the leaves in the yard and then jump in the pile or cover each other totally up with the leaves. We made snowmen and snow angels together! Reading a story every night before they went to sleep. Now they are young adults and when I do get to spend time with them we love playing games as a family! I hope they will one day spend the time with my great-grandchildren playing in the leaves and snow and remember when Grandma did it with them. So my point is we all reminisce about times gone by, the older we get we only seem to remember the good things in our past and I believe that is a good thing. I think we have let those memories go because they weren’t really that bad, but helped to shape us into the person that we are today. Hopefully that is a person who lives life without judgements, but truly tries to love and send loving vibrations into the universe. We are all brothers & sisters on this planet.
    Go Braves!!

  10. Melanie - October 30, 2021 2:52 pm

    Sean why you’re not at those games?! Get a Press Pass! P. S. don’t ever grow up. It is highly over rated.

  11. Paul McCutchen - October 30, 2021 2:59 pm

    Yep…I also enjoyed baseball as a kid. Had more fun just playing in the yard than organized by the parents.

  12. Charlotte Lea - October 30, 2021 2:59 pm

    Go Braves!
    Know what you mean…I’m 66 but still have the thoughts of a 16 year old.

  13. Donald Hines - October 30, 2021 3:59 pm

    I grew up with the kids in the area getting together to play baseball before it became over organized with adults and little league. The kids made the rules and for sure there was no crying. (A great Tom Hanks line). Before TVs broadcast nearly every game, there was baseball on the radio and your imagination had to fill in the details. On the radio, players were not black or white or brown, they were Cardinals, or Yankees or Braves. The first real baseball man I knew was an elderly black man who lived nearby and listened to the Cardinals on KMOX from St Louis before the Braves moved south to Atlanta. Sean, please stop whining about 20 years since the Braves were in the series. Talk to a lifelong Cubs fan about 108 years or a Red Sox fan about the curse of the Bambino. Sean, if you truly love baseball, put the Rickwood Classic on your calendar for next year and come see the Birmingham Barons play at the oldest ball park in professional baseball.

  14. jptucker1 - October 30, 2021 4:29 pm

    Sean, I can relate to the injury in the “you know what” area. While raking crawfish in a slough in South Alabama, I stooped suddenly to fetch a floundering crawfish and sat on a cypress knee. It was positioned between the anal opening and my scrotum. I rolled over in the murky, leaf-filled water – dying while my fishing companion was laughing. I, too, thought about this injury ending my later-to-be family ways. Fortunately, it didn’t, but the pain was excruciating for a while.

  15. Tom Wallin - October 30, 2021 4:37 pm

    Hey, I don’t remember you from my neighborhood. You just described my childhood even though it was a decade or 2 before yours. I listened to the Cubs playing the Braves, Milwaukee that is. The good old days. Thanks for the memories. I am rooting for the Braves this time.

  16. Dean - October 30, 2021 5:09 pm

    Go Braves🇺🇸🇺🇸

  17. DAVID A WILSON - October 30, 2021 5:35 pm

    ME ALSO!!!!

  18. Linda Moon - October 30, 2021 7:52 pm

    When all else fails swoon on the couch with a cat on your head…or if you prefer, sit on the porch with a cat on your lap. I do it a lot…both head-and-porch- sitting with my cats but I’ve been watching the Braves from inside the house. Your storytelling as you’ve aged is good as baseball, Writer. Pride and baseball and cats were part of 13-year-old me and still are. Your daddy and mine are both proud!

  19. Richard - October 30, 2021 8:11 pm

    any dog that you can pick up with one hand isn’t a real dog. your neighbor’s tiny cotton balls need bark-ectomies.

  20. Kathy. - October 30, 2021 8:14 pm

    For your sake, Go Braves!

  21. Karen Snyder - October 30, 2021 8:51 pm

    ⚾️🏟🇺🇸 Go Braves!

  22. Linda Maxwell - October 30, 2021 11:16 pm

    About that making your youth sound more magical and carefree than it really was, Merle Haggard said it best, “Everything changes except what we choose to recall.” It’s not just our youth that is more magic and carefree. It’s all the best things we like to remember. Last time we won the Series, I had a newborn watching games with me. Go Braves!!


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