The rain never came. I did keep looking at those dark gray skies, begging them to open wide and save us, but all we got were some occasional sprinkles. And yet, it still turned out ok, better than ok... it was a really good day at the ballpark.
Oscar got on base three of the four times he was up to bat. (It helps that the coaches pitch in Single A and it turns out that there are no strikeouts.) On his first at-bat he hit the ball solidly to short on the 3rd pitch and made it to first with time to spare. We were stunned. On his second at-bat, it took quite a few more pitches but he finally made contact. He was out before he could make it to first, but he didn't know and kept going till he reached the base. He took the news well, though, and trudged solemnly back to the bench. A teammate met him partway and gave him the special Blue Jay's handshake. That's when I teared up. No arguing, no "private conversations". A whole lot of respect for the rules of the game. Comforted by a teammate. Wow.
Defense was a little trickier. Oscar played third base in the first inning. Paul stayed nearby on the sidelines, coaching him along. He watched all the balls go by, but he watched all the balls go by. He was down and ready at every pitch, and managed to sometimes get his foot on base when a runner was heading his way. Paul helped him orient his body so he could keep that foot on and still look for the throw. He was starting to look like he understood, and he was definitely focused.
I didn't see the whole game -- Abe's game was on the adjacent field so Ruby and I were moving back and forth. Paul said Oscar started to lose steam around the 4th inning, but he hung in there! When the game was over I asked Oscar how it went. He grinned wide and said,
"It was a challenge, mom. Yeah, it was hard and fun. It was a real mix of all of those three things -- challenging, hard and fun!"
He was practically bouncing down the sidewalk as we were talking. If you know Oscar, you know he doesn't bounce, but that is how happy he was. I'm so proud of that kid and his wonderful spirit. Keep it up Oscar, keep it up!