Softball is many things. Today, softball is a picture you can’t take.

My eyes scanned the room during a commercial on T.V. I was seated on the floor after having played a game of fetch with Jack Bauer, so I was at the perfect angle to see it. In fact, had I been anywhere else in the room, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it. I probably wouldn’t have stopped my roaming eyes to linger on that spot. But I just happened to be seated on the floor at the exact angle to see it.

When my eyes fixed position, I noticed the most beautiful scene by my back window. A flower pot with two blooms covered the bottom left of the canvas. Framing the canvas was a dark wood window pane. From the angle at which I sat, the grassy horizon was covered by the wooden frame. Inside the frame, the backdrop of the blooming flower was the most uniquely blue sky I’d ever seen. It wasn’t quite blue, and it wasn’t quite grey. It was a perfect symmetry of the two. It was as if the colors decided to bring out the most beautiful qualities in one another before they hugged in unison in the sky.

My eyes lingered. I wanted to look at it longer. I wanted to see this sky, to capture it, exactly as it was in that moment.

So, I took out my phone. I pointed it at the sky, but it couldn’t capture what I saw, so I moved closer. By doing that, the angle had changed. It just wasn’t the same. See, the only way to truly capture that moment was to be there. To truly be there. To savor it. To experience it completely. To stop, slow time down, and capture it. No picture could’ve done that.

No picture could’ve captured what I saw as I looked around the dugout and the field during my last ever collegiate softball game.

There was a rain delay on the field, so we sat together in the dugout until the storm cleared. If it weren’t for that rain, I’m not sure I would’ve stopped to take the time and just look.

First I looked at my teammates. I was seated at the end of the bench in the dugout, so if I looked to my right I could see everyone. My teammates were joking with each other, keeping the energy alive in spite of the tired rain. One teammate was sitting on top of the water cooler laughing at three others doing a ridiculous dance on the concrete in the middle of the dugout. A few others were tapping a beat on the bench, giggling and grinning without a care in the world. I, however, just watched. I didn’t joke along like I usually would. I didn’t laugh carelessly like I usually would. I just looked. I knew that I would never experience anything like this ever again. As they carried on with the ritual we would follow nearly every rain delay, I stopped to experience it. A picture couldn’t show you that.

Then, I looked at the softball field. The grey sky and the rain had darkened the dirt. Small puddles were beginning to form near first base and home plate. It was empty of energy, of game-play. It looked lonely; it looked beautiful. It looked like it did when I was 5 years old, leaning against the fence with a glove in my hand, pestering my dad to play catch with me as I watched my older sisters playing. It looked like it did when I was 8 years old, piling fists full of Big League Chew in my mouth and singing about a froggy sitting on a log. It looked like it did when I was 12 years old, finally leaving the field after playing 8 games in one day and watching the lights slowly fade, letting the field rest in the blackness of the night. It looked like it did when I was 15 and I saw what the field looked like at the state tournament for the first time with my big sister by my side. It looked like it did when I was 21 and set my all-time career hit record, watching my teammates erupt in the dugout in support of my accomplishment. It looked like it did each day I stepped foot on its surface, beneath which I had buried my heart. In a picture, it would look like a softball field darkened by the grey sky and the rain. When I looked at it, it looked like home.

Finally, I looked at my parents. I saw the support of parents who never missed a single game of mine. I saw a mother who traveled at 5:00 in the morning to bring me the equipment I had forgotten. I saw a father who would stand just behind the right field fence, because if he stood anywhere else I wouldn’t get a hit. I saw parents who would let me know when I had a terrible game, but who would never let me forget how proud they are of me. I looked at my parents, and I saw love.

Not a single picture could have captured the meaning, the truth, of the way that last game looked to me as I sat in the dugout during the rain delay.

In life, we have moments that we want to hold on to. Sometimes, those moments are the ones that we can’t capture with our phones.

Softball is many things. Today, softball is a picture you can’t take.


6 thoughts on “Softball is a Picture you Can’t Take

  1. What a thought post. I have two daughters playing softball and I found myself wondering what their last game might look like whether that’s middle school, high school, or beyond. They love the game and I can tell you do too, through your writing.


  2. THIS! This is so beautifully written. I love the parts where you moved forward in time, where you considered other people, where you slowed down time. You are quite a writer and bring a fresh perspective each day!


  3. Brooke, I’m crying and I’m not sure why because, honestly, I don’t even like softball. This is just so beautiful and I get it. I get the message and the moment and the fleeting-ness and the desire to just remember it all.

    This is beautiful. Took my breath away.


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