Baseball, sand dunes and a little sage<br>

TUBA CITY — Two aging gentlemen recently sat in a pick-up truck watching a baseball game behind Greyhills Academy High School. It was a hot afternoon for a late winter. A slight breeze kicked around a pool of dust near the field as the capped gentleman behind the steering wheel spoke in a raspy voice.

“I remember when all this was nothing but sand dunes and shrubs,” he recalled as he referred to the baseball field now covered with brownish grass that was still awakening from its winter sleep.

“Yep, nothing but sand and weeds,” said the second man.

“Plenty of sand and tumbleweeds,” the first man with the raspy voice agreed.

They both nodded and sat quiet for several minutes. It was a time when you let old gentlemen do what they do best, let the words of the other sink into the deep crevices where treasures are safely stored for all time and eternity—until such a time, when it can be prompted back for recall, just like the marvels of today’s computer network.

“Man, that boy’s quite a player,” the raspy voiced man said. “Look at him run. Doesn’t he look like a baseball player?”

“Which one?” the other man asked.

“That one, there! What is his name? Look at him go! And he’s only a freshman,” the first man responded.

“Yeah, he looks pretty good,” the second man said.

“Didn’t ya think ‘em days were good?” the second man continued after a moment as he referred back to days gone by. “We had to do everything ourselves.”

“Oh yeah, we took a tractor, whaddaya call ‘em things with a blade?” The one with the raspy voice asked.

“Ya mean a grader?” the second one responded.

“Yeah, that’s what I mean. We borrowed one and we went to work with it moving all those mounds of dirt and shrubs. We didn’t even know how to work that darn thing, we just learned as we went along,” said the one with the raspy voice.

“You sat in that thing and made the field look like your boarding school haircut,” said second one with a slight cackle.

They both laughed and needled each other about those boarding school haircuts for a while until their mind drifted back to the present day and the ball game. The scorekeeper had mistakenly added a run to Greyhills Knights score and had them up by two runs in the sixth inning.

“What’s he doing? That run shouldn’t have counted, it’s three outs,” the one with the raspy voice protested in his vehicle. “Shoot, don’t they know how to keep score?”

In a few moments, the score was corrected on the board, and the gentleman felt better that his protesting was heard by the unseen powers and related to the game’s official, and everything was back in order.

“Yep, we had a bunch of tennis courts right there,” said the first guy with the raspy voice. “I don’t know why they built those courts in the first place. You’d think that Crissy Everett was going to school here at the time.”

“We ripped up them courts and pushed all that concrete over there. They’re still piled up over there, too,” the second man agreed.

“Yep, we had to make room for the new baseball and softball programs,” said the first man. “We had teams but no one wanted to coach. We didn’t have anybody that knew how to coach softball for the girls.”

The computer suddenly came to life and started clicking as it kicked into memory recall and searched under “Softball-Greyhills-Beginnings” and started spewing out story after story from the deep crevices of the raspy voiced one’s mind.

“Yeah, I didn’t really wanna’, but I became the head coach,” said the first man. “It turned out to be pretty good. We had us a good season and had ‘em girls speaking softball all the time.”

“Our neighbors up there,” said the second man as he pointed to the big school next door. “They used to laugh at us and what we were trying to do, playing in sand and gravel and dirt.”

They laughed and then sat quiet again for some time, each alone with his own thoughts, and walking among the treasures stored in their minds about the beginnings of Greyhills and sports and where they are today.

After a while, they talked and laughed about the old uniforms, the old buses that broke down on them or ran out of gas on game trips, and how they struggled to make ends meet.

It was talk about how sports started at Greyhills Academy, but their eyes sparkled with pride when they talked about certain players that have come and gone that made the “game” memorable at Greyhills, whether it was basketball, football, baseball, or track and field.

And finally in the end the raspy voiced gentleman spoke, “You see what’s going on today and what the kids are enjoying, it was all worth it.”

“You can say that again,” the second man agreed. “You can’t take anything away from our athletic program. Our kids have earned it and they can compete with anybody.”

“That’s for sure. Our mascot might be from the medieval times, but our kids are right from this computer-age, technological, advanced go-get-em generation that’s as good as anybody in this present-day world,” the raspy voiced one stated.

“Hey, looky there, we took ‘em. The score is 11-6,” said the first man behind the steering wheel. “Yeah, I still think that one’s gonna be our next major league player. He’s got the looks down to the nail.”

Indeed, Greyhills Knights had won the game. At the moment, it didn’t matter how or who scored, but the two gentlemen’s trip back among the sand dunes and shrubbery, tumbleweeds and the deep crevices of their memory, made it all worth the time to see a baseball game.

“Well, I’ve gotta go take a break and check in to see if I have any calls,” the second man said as he slipped out the door of the truck.

“Okay, we’ll be seeing ya,” said the one behind the wheel.

Then he saw a staff member from Greyhills Academy walk by. He rolled down his window and said that to the man.

“Hey, ya should’ve joined us here.”

“I could’ve, but I knew you were charging.”

“Hey, it was only $15 today.”

“Maybe next time.”

“Alrighty then.”

With that quick exchange, the old gent with the raspy voice turned on his radio and headed his truck away from the field, drove through a little bit of sand, onto the pavement and was gone for the day.


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