Mojo was up to bat. He was hesitant. In two previous games he was hit by a pitch. Both times he took his base but paid the price with a big bruise. The first in the middle of his back, the second on his inner thigh. He was on deck watching the pitcher throw one bad pitch after another. The fear became more acute with each bad pitch he watched. His teammate walked. It was his turn to enter the batter’s box. I watched from the bleachers to see him take his turn at the plate. Mojo was not moving fast. In fact he was barely moving at all. He had tears in his eyes.
A fellow parent in the stands said, “that is your son, isn’t it?” “Yes,” I replied. The caring father said “He was hit by a pitch last game, wasn’t he?” “Yes, and the game before too.” The parents talked about how hard it must be for him to take his turn at bat. Next, we see Mojo’s Dad leave his post as third base coach. He motions “time out” to the umpire and approaches Mojo. They have a private father/son chat as we all look on. Mojo stands tall then enters the batter’s box. Dad returns to third base. The first two pitches are balls. I am nervous and worried that he will be hit again. I hold my breath wondering if he will give up baseball if he gets hit a third time in as many games. He swings at the next pitch and hits a hard ground ball up the third base line. It quickly goes past the third baseman and Mojo easily reaches first base. I let out my breath thanking the baseball gods for helping him face his fears. Mojo is not done. With the assistance of a few passed balls, he stole second, then third, then home! His team went on to win by one run that night.
At home after the game we share a celebratory ice cream. I tell Mojo how proud I am of him for facing his fears. Mojo looks up at me with his beautiful eyes, with lashes any super model would covet, and he says, “Dad told me that if I didn’t get up there and hit the ball he was going to sign me up for ballet lessons.”