My grandfather had only one child and that was my mother. He always wanted a son but it never happened. He wanted a son because he wanted to teach him to play baseball. When my mom got pregnant, he thought it was finally his chance to have a little boy in the family, but it turned out that her first child was my older sister, whom he tried to teach anyway. Deirdre learned to play, but my grandpa still wanted a boy to teach. Then three and a half years later I was born and he was very happy.
Grandpa was the first person to give me a baseball glove and to play catch with me. My first glove was as small as the size of my whole hand is now. When Grandpa got me that glove I was very excited. I was so happy I even slept with it at my side. It was my pride and joy.
When I was five, I played on my first baseball team and my grandfather was the assistant coach. He wanted me to play shortstop, but I wanted to play outfield. But instead of making me play shortstop and being unhappy, he let me play outfield. He hit me ground balls and not flyballs, like he was supposed to, and so I became more interested in the infield positions and I converted to shortstop. My grandpa was very proud of the way I played that season and he has worked with me ever since to make me a better ballplayer.
My grandfather is seventy-eight- years-old. He is in great physical condition, strong as a bull and very active. My grandpa is still working at a pharmacy, where he makes deliveries. He is well-known around town and everybody loves him.
Grandpa has helped me become not only a better player, but a better sport and an all-around better person. I owe him all my success in baseball and in my life. Today my grandfather is too old to help me with my playing, but he still comes to every practice and game. Grandpa comes every day at two-thirty with his brown overcoat and his Clarkstown North baseball hat on. He sits and watches my practices through rain and shine. He was named our baseball team's number one fan by my coach. I love him and hope he will be around for many more years to support me and baseball. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.