Update on the Home Front

As we head up to Halloween weekend, here’s an update on the home front. Our older son, who has become interested in men’s fashion, is going as a magician, so that, for the first time, he can wear a top hat and tails. And our younger son, who has developed a deep interest in baseball this summer, is going as a New York Yankee, wearing number Derek Jeter’s number 2.

We’ll pick up some pumpkins after school Friday, carve them Saturday afternoon (following fencing class and a birthday party earlier in the day), and go trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood on Saturday evening (knowing from experience which streets are best), then watch some of the World Series game, and finally collapse into unconsciousness. A busy, and hopefully memorable, day will be had by all.

As the weather cools off, we are developing new ways to have physical activity indoors and my younger son and I have come up with a version of indoor baseball, with certain characteristics of squash. In a basement room 18 feet by 11 feet we set up a diamond going lengthwise. We use a foam rubber ball, which the hitter whacks and usually ricochets off one or more walls. The batter is out if he gets three strikes, if the pitcher catches the ball on the fly, or if the pitcher tags him out on the basepaths. Only home runs count, i.e. hits aren’t cumulative.

There is an open door on the third base line. My son, who is right handed, has developed great skill at hitting the ball out of the doorway, which is a home run. I’m left handed, so find it impossible to do that. We both have developed facility at the fielding side of the game — quickly seizing the ball as it bounces around the room — and holding the hitter to something less than a homerun, as well as the base running side of the game — taking as many bases as we can without getting tagged.

We don’t have an open door on the first base line, so my son has an advantage over me. I suppose we could equalize things by closing the door, but I’m happy to see him develop his skill at pulling the ball, i.e. hitting it down the third base line into left field. We both play as competitively as we can, so his advantage is a result of the structure of the field, rather than because dad isn’t trying hard.

It’s interesting that the game has evolved as we’ve played it, and we’ve worked up a set of rules that both of us understand and try to exploit. We’ll see how it evolves during the winter.

I’ll be back to narrative next week.

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