Today, as I walked Scooter on a cloudy Sunday, I came across a couple of Little League teams playing at the neighborhood school around the corner. They must have been 1st or 2nd graders—little be-gloved and be-capped Munchkins in small red and blue jerseys running around the field, with fathers scattered among them serving as various linemen and coaches.
Crack. Wood and leather connect and the ball flies over mid-left field. One outfielder was a little late in getting there and the ball sailed away him. The outfield coach immediately chided him: “Don’t wait for it to bounce before you start moving—get going as soon as it heads in your direction!”
It was good advice, though I was a little concerned about the tone of his voice—a slight hint of exasperation. Not just, “Hey, do this next time,” but “What’s wrong with you? Why didn’t you do this?”
And he said it again. And then again. I could hear it, along with everyone on the field. Even after Scooter had finished her business and we were moving away, I could still hear him repeating the same words, with the same tone, the same wagging head.
I wonder what Major League self-judgments might have started on that field? And I wonder what the coach was reacting to? The boy in front of him, or the modeling he received from his own father? So often—maybe always—the judgments we place on others are reflections of our own judgments (whether inherited or arrived at independently) of ourselves.
I was thinking, “Wow. This is how it starts.” But maybe it didn’t start on that field. Maybe it started on a field generations before. And who knows how far into the future that ball is going to sail?