Appreciating the Gift of Life
by Bill Hudson
I’ve become more contemplative during the COVID-19 crisis. I’ve spent most of my spare time writing a book/memoir called “The Bat Chuckers.” During my first 13 years of life in Baltimore, summer mornings began with 10 to 15 neighborhood kids gathered across the street on our baseball sandlot. Each day we chose two new team captains. One captain “chucked” a bat to the other. Then, both alternated grips climbing upward. The final full-handed grip won the chuck and first pick of teammates. After taking turns picking teams, the captains assigned playing positions and batting orders. All of us were necessary to field two teams. That need for each other grew into a neighborhood of empathy and respect. We learned teamwork, and experienced a small scale version of what life was about to give us. Heroes can be humbled and the least talented kid will have moments of stardom.
Baseball and softball have remained important in my family for three generations now … from sandlot beginnings, to college ball, to playing in the Majors (my son Luke). I’m now watching my grandkids grow into adults with a deeper appreciation of life through competitive team sports.
As I’ve hustled to write memories before mine completely fade away, I’ve asked old friends and family to proofread the text. I also gave each a chance to modify my stories or even change their name if accounts were too embarrassing or exaggerated. Therein has been the fun of this effort. People have added, but no one has changed a story. And I’ve contacted people I haven’t seen or talked with in decades. Some, I've introduced to you in previous Newsletters such as:
Writing a memoir forces intense focus which, in turn, surfaces forgotten memories. Having nearly completed my effort I’ve come to several significant conclusions that I may have otherwise missed or underestimated:
(1) Miracles happen daily and that is exactly why we fail to recognize them. Birth is miracle #1, and if that kid survives to be a teenager—well, that’s miracle #2.
(2) The world has 7.8 billion people and no two are alike. We all experience each minute differently. Every life has value. Every person has a story worth telling.
acing adversity is necessary to finding purpose. Overcoming adversity is necessary to finding value.
(4) Our purpose is to understand and help others.
(5) Life is an incredible gift of experiences.
For me, it was a grand slam being born in the USA in 1944. I experienced the 50’s as a teenager. With a rock ‘n’ roll back-beat, our country led the world recovering from war.