One of my all time favorite movies is For the Love of the Game. It's a movie about baseball, staring Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston. Costner plays the role of an aging pitcher in major league baseball. He plays for the Detroit Tigers and the team has not had a good year.
It's a love story where the plot winds around one game in career of fictional pitcher Billy Chapel. It's a game in which Chapel pitches a perfect game against the New York Yankees.
A perfect game is one in which there are no hits, walks, runs, or anyone gets on base. It's rare, and has only happened twenty times in the history of Major League Baseball.
Watching the movie brings back some of my fondest childhood memories, many of which involve baseball. I played both little league, and pony league baseball. I was a pretty good catcher behind the plate and swung a mean bat.
In fact, the last time I batted in pony league, I knocked a two-run homer!
Our uniforms that year were grey with red stripes and a red hat. I felt taller in that uniform and I can still hear the clicking sound our cleats made when we walked on pavement.
I guess that's when my mama got into baseball. My folks rarely missed a game that I played.
My dad was quiet, but you could hear my mama cheering over the noise of the crowd. Those were fun times.
When I went by to see my mom last Sunday, she was sitting in her recliner in my sister's living room watching the final inning of the Atlanta Braves game against the Phillies.
It was the last regular season game of the year and a must-win to keep Atlanta's playoff hopes alive.
To add to the drama, it was the last regular season game for Coach Bobby Cox who is retiring.
Mama will be eighty six this coming December and she doesn't get out anymore except on rare occasions when she goes to the doctor.
She's practically blind and deaf, so my sister bought a TV as big as the screen at a drive-inn theater. The only volume setting my mama uses is wide open.
My sister is used to the din, but every time I head home after visiting, my ears ring like I'd just left a Rolling Stones concert.
She was in a little bit of a huff when I arrived because the Braves were blowing an 8-2 lead late in the game. A loss meant the season was over and no more baseball until spring.
I was pulling hard for the Braves because watching them still gives her a great deal of pleasure and seeing her happy makes me happy.
As it turns out, the Braves won and secured a wildcard slot in the playoffs. That means she'll get to watch a few more games.
I wish she was strong enough for me to take her to a Braves game in Atlanta. Jilda and I have gone a few times and there's nothing like it.
Turner Field is beautiful with the manicured field and pennant flags popping in the wind. The smell of the popcorn, peanuts, and freshly cut grass when combined with all the color and pageantry is quite an experience. You don't get that when you watch a game on TV.
My mama was healthy for most of her life and she spent those years raising a family and helping at schools, and in the community.
She probably would have gone to a Braves game with us back then, but I guess I thought I was too busy because I never got around to taking her. I wish I had a do-over on that one. I know it's a long shot, but I hope the Braves rise to the occasion and win the World Series this year.
I know a lot of folks would be pleased, but none would be more happy than my mama.