Take a Lap

On a cold south Texas morning
we stride toward the batting cage
already occupied on the good half
by a father-son pair and a cheap
bucket of fake leather baseballs.

The AAA Astros fight the sun
on the other half of the cage,
 taking warm-up swings as I
listen to our adjacent opponents.

Thump goes pitch number one
into the son's shoulder, an accident
of early morning cold that stings a little
extra on the first chilly morning of the season.
Subsequent pitches from behind the safety
on an "L" net dive low and outside until finally
I hear, "Swing at everything, you're either going
to get get warm, or you're going to swing."

Pitch. Take. Lap. Repeat.

The kid is leaking from his eyes and his nose
as he steps back in the cage and picks up his bat.

Pitch. Take. Lap. Repeat.

I wonder who's having fun?
Does yelling equal coaching?
Do tears predicate improvement?


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