Sunday, July 7, 2013

baseball gloves

 I have a soft spot for baseball gloves.

I try them on at sports stores for no reason but to relive a younger phase in my life. I especially have trouble resisting old gloves, and have begun a bit of a collection buying them on occasion whenever I have come across interesting ones at antiques stores. It now includes an ancient pancake shaped Reach catcher's mitt (in need of much repair) and a youth-sized first baseman's mitt.

Baseball gloves symbolize fatherhood for me. Playing catch with my father is (along with fishing and sketching) one of the most cherished and meaningful childhood memories I had with him. It was an important means of communication, of learning, of admiration.

My own favourite glove is a somewhat rare Adidas infielder glove that my father entrusted to me when I was around grade 4. He originally bought it for himself at a cost of 20,000 Yen, a small fortune at that time. I witnessed how he broke it in patiently with glove oil and regular use, and I've used it ever since. It saddens me that one cannot readily find a store that sells glove grease or leather laces to keep these treasures functional.

I am now trying to teach my kids how to play catch. They have a ways to go still, but like all "languages", it will take time to learn, and hopefully they will enjoy the process. As it turns out, my 3 year old son is left handed, which means that he will likely not follow in the footsteps of two generations of catchers.

Our only glove for lefties in the house is a my son's kid-sized plastic Rawlings, drawn in the first sketch in pink. The second shows two of the three gloves from my childhood (the Adidas on the left, and an ancient, now disintegrating glove that existed way before we were born), along with my Cooper catcher's mitt used throughout high school.

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