Thoughts & Images from Andy Sharp

Let the Play Begin…For Big & Small

The major league baseball season just this week is in full swing.   I love watching the games, particularly the Houston Astros.   While football is fun to watch, baseball, slow game that it is, has always been my favorite.   As a kid growing up in Texarkana, I was far too small to be on football teams.   But baseball?   Now there was a sport just made for any us, regardless of our size.  With that in mind, I decided to search for a team that exemplifies what it’s like to be a kid playing the sport today.   On Tuesday evening, I found just that, a team of 8 and 9-year-old boys coached by Dru Lopez.  Coach Lopez affectionately calls his team the Traviesos.  Loosely translated from Spanish, says coach, means “knucklheads.”   Synonyms include: clever, witty, restless, etc.  I like that.   A former pitcher, Lopez wanted to give back something of the sport he loved.   Alas, he needed a field where his team could practice.   In 2016, however, if you want to play on a field, you often must pay for the space.  Last year, driving around Georgetown, he found his field of dreams, a grown-over field behind Heritage Baptist Church.  Dru made a deal with the church staff:  if they would allow his team to practice there, he’d do the landscaping.   The church readily agreed and now the Traviesos get to hold their practices here, free of charge.   Sure enough, on the night I visited, there was Monica Lopez, Dru’s wife, operating the lawnmower while Dru did his thing on the field.  One young fellow, 9-year-old Jose Ortiz, moved here last year from Puerto Rico.  Jose had never played baseball before, but watching him at short-stop, you wouldn’t know it.   He’s the final photo in this post.   At the beginning and end of each practice, the team takes a knee for a brief prayer.   That was nice.  Some of these little folks might be your next major league players.  You never know.  Play ball.

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