Monday, March 2, 2009

Evolution of a Hitter!

If any of you have spent time around my 3 year old boy, Kade, then you already know how much he loves to hit a baseball.  It's been that way since about the time he was 18 months old.  The baseball bat never seemed foreign to him.  From the first time he picked it up it was as if he already knew what to do with it.  

There was talk of Kade becoming a hitter long before he was even born.  At that time though, we were just hoping that the Kademan would make it to this world to even have that chance.

Kade is our miracle baby.  For two weeks in May-June of 05, we weren't sure if Amanda and Kade were going to make it.  Amanda, while 27 weeks pregnant with Kade, came down with a very serious case of pneumonia.  As they put the tube down her throat so that the ventilator could breath for her, the doctor told me that she might not make it through all that was ahead of her.  "You're wife might die."  Those were words I most definitely was not prepared to hear.

Shortly thereafter the realization hit that not only could I lose my wife but also my unborn son.  Everything dear to me was about to be taken away.

Not only was her health a concern, but that of Kade's as well.  He wasn't quite far enough along that they felt comfortable taking him unless they absolutely had to.  The worry was that his lungs were not quite ready.  Out of precaution, just in case things turned for the worse, they pumped him full of a steroid to help his lungs develop.

My boy was now juiced.

From that came the talk of him being a power hitter, this while he was still in the womb.  We made jokes of Payson City having to run drug screenings before they would allow him to play T-ball, or having to put an * next to his name when he gets to high school, etc.  

We really didn't know at the time how appropriate it was to talk of Kade and hitting a baseball.  It didn't take long for us to find out though.

Thankfully everything went well with Amanda.  She recovered, went full term, and delivered a healthy little boy.  We were so grateful to finally have him with us.

You can imagine how happy I was when it became apparent, when he was just over a year old, that Kade liked sports.  He would sit down with me and watch whatever I was watching.  When Memo would knock down the money shot and I would cheer, he would cheer also.  We watched BYU football, Utah Jazz basketball, Sportscenter, etc.  The one thing that caught his attention more than anything though was baseball.  He was mesmerized by it.  

It wasn't until the following spring that we finally bought him a bat.  We got him one of those big red "Captain Cave Man" bats.  He could barely hold the thing up.  As big as it was though he knew exactly what to do with it without any coaching from me.  

With time the bat and balls got smaller, and we graduated from the tee to under hand pitch and then on to overhand pitch. 

He was hooked.  

He is a shy kid.  When someone new would come to the house, he wouldn't talk to them but eventually he would end up by their side with his little indoor bat and a ball.  That's how he would break the ice.  He would have them pitch to him.

We would watch him play make-believe and laugh because the majority of the time he was acting like he was swinging a bat or shooting a basket.  Sports were always on his mind, especially baseball.

As he has gotten older though he isn't nearly as obsessed with hitting.  He has other hobbies and interests, but baseball is still towards the top of the list.  

I took him to get a hair cut a couple of weeks ago and when the gal asked him what he was going to do for fun that day he said, "go home and play baseball with my Dad."  I love it.

Every mother crow thinks that her baby is the blackest, well, I think Kade is a pretty good little hitter.  He's got coordination that I never had, but he also shares my love of the game.  What Dad wouldn't be happy with that?

To be honest though, that's only a small part of it.  I love it when he asks me to play baseball, I love the time that I get to spend with him throwing, I love that we have this special bond between us, a passion that brings us together.  I love it not only because it's baseball and he's actually pretty good at it, but because every time I play baseball with my boy it reminds me of those long tear filled days when I pled with my Heavenly Father just for an opportunity to know my son.   

We talked of baseball in the hospital, but at that time we didn't even know if he was going to live.

I love watching him hit a baseball because I can!  It's an opportunity that I have been given, one that I am very grateful to have and one that I'll never take for granted.

I love being a Dad!

In the videos he is 18 months, 22 months, 2 years old and then lastly 3 years old.  The last video you'll have to turn your head to the side to see.  Sorry.