The baseball unexpectedly hits the ground at my feet and rolls to stop out of reach, shaking me from a late Sunday afternoon daze. For years I have been catching my son’s pitches. Watching the ball hit my mitt became unnecessary long ago. Noah is 15 now, a solidly entrenched teen, and he just threw me his first curve.

From the time Noah first picked up a baseball, we worked on throwing straight and fast. Later, in little league, he pitched reliably well, straight, often throwing strikeouts. Currently a high school freshman, Noah is no longer satisfied, or effective as a one pitch pitcher. Facing more sophisticated batters, his desire to improve has naturally led him to try something different.

Catch now requires more focus on my part. As father and catcher, I can no longer make assumptions. I act early to avoid reacting too late. I am learning to love Noah’s curve, as I have all the necessary changes he’s undergone. My mind and mitt are open to new possibilities. While Noah develops a new pitch, I’m becoming a better curve catcher.

The experience is teaching me once again to be there. Whoever says it’s quality and not quantity concerning parent teen relations is minding their p’s but missing their q’s. Quality time is a gift we purchase with the quantity of time we spend together. Consistently practicing as catcher and pitcher and growing together as father and son, I believe life’s important victories will be ours.

Today, Noah stands on the pitcher’s mound and I crouch at home plate. What will he throw next? I’m not certain, but thanks to an elusive, late Sunday afternoon wake up call, I won’t drop the ball if it’s the change-up.




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