The Lesson I Learned From an 11 Year Old
April 2012, I was playing my Senior season at Missouri State University. This was an increadible year for our team, but this story is not about us, it’s about a weekend where I met a boy named Hunter. I don’t remember the team we were playing, how I did, or even the exact date. I do remember a small string bean of a kid suited up in our dugout, and ready to be our bat boy for the first time. His smile went from ear to ear and his happinies filled the dugout. He couldn’t help himself, but like any kid, he stayed close to the walls nervous, shy, and gleaming with joy.
I made my way over to introduced myself, and saw his face go from a smile to shock. When I approached him I tucked my glove under my left armpit and stuck my right hand out and engulfed his hand. His eyes went straight to our handshake in amazement. We started talking about each other’s favorite video games, movies, and MLB players. By the end of our chat, we became friends.
Fast forward three years. I graduated from Missouri State, spent three seasons in independent baseball, and started my own company — Tournament Guy :)- I will be honest, I never thought of Hunter since the last time we talked. Then last week he reached out to me through Facebook. He was trying the new video and voice features on messenger and wanted to see how I was doing. He mentioned he was going into sixth grade and talked about the fastest kid in school and how MLB 2K6 is the best game ever. After hearing each other’s stories, Hunter asked, “Would you want to go to the Cardinals game with me?” I was shocked, surprised, and humbled for him to ask, and I started pondering, “Does his mom know about this?” As I was thinking this through, he saw my hesitation and confirmed that she said yes. In less than 5 minutes I was on the phone with Hunter’s mom arranging our day to see the Cardinals play the Minnesota Twins.
On game day, I met both of them at the left field gate outside Busch Stadium. As we walked into the stadium I couldn’t believe I was going to a baseball game with our former bat boy. We had prime seating, sitting in Section 144, Row 4, Seat 7 & 8. If you are unfamiliar with Busch Stadium it is on the first base line, right behind the Cardinals dugout. It was the most perfect spot because we had a clear view of our favorite players (Kolten Wong, Matt Carpentar, and Yadier Molina).
As we were watching the Cardinals win I saw how much fun my friend was having. I envied his passion and excitement because I used to feel the same way. As the game went on, his emotion for all the big sights and sounds started rubbing-off on me. I felt like I was 11 years old without a worrisome bone in my body. Status, money, appointments, errands, and business vanished from my mind, and all that was left was the pure enjoyment of the game. All we cared about was what song was going to play next, who will hit the next home run, and if Yadier Molina will give us a ball.
In the three hours I spent with Hunter he taught me that status, money, and self-ego don’t mean anything. We were meant to have fun, create relationships, and make a positive impact on the people we meet. As a 25 year old man, I sit here and contemplate how an 11 year old boy taught me more in three hours about life than any scientist, religious figure, or self help book could.
Thank you Hunter!
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