To my surprise the ball found its target

After my father returned from retrieving my errant throw that resembled a poor and weak nine-iron golf shot, my anxiety rose as I anticipated my father’s comments. He simply said, “Just step and throw.” He then tossed the ball in my direction once again.

As I caught the next ball my confidence grew. With some hesitation I did as my father suggested and stepped and threw the ball. To my surprise the ball found its target. I found myself stunned, not only because of my accuracy but at how nonchalantly my father caught the ball with the best softball bat he found on . No worry on his face, no concentration in his eyes–clearly, he had been here before–several times before. His one-handed back hand grab just about left me speechless until I finally stuttered the question. “Dad, how’d you learn to play softball so well?”

His answer was one that encompassed not only every sport ever played, but it was an answer that would have left Greek philosophers cheering in the stands and embodied the golden rule of every twelve step program. His response: “One throw at a time.”

Of course, puzzled by this, and not knowing how to respond, I tossed the ball back to my father, this time with a bit more velocity and accuracy. Again catching the ball as if he hadn’t a care in the world was amazing to me. This time he paused for a moment after catching the ball as if the pace and accuracy of the ball surprised him. I asked my father once again, convinced he didn’t understand my question. His answer came right before he tossed the ball: “One throw at a time.”

Now frustrated at my father’s profound stance on softball, I caught the ball and immediately hurled the ball in his direction with all the fury a skinny seven-year-old could muster. He caught the ball, sensing my frustration. He then looked at me as if I were challenging him. It was too late to take it back; the gauntlet had been thrown. My father decided that it was time to graduate from catching soft arching tosses to screaming missiles firing out of a cannon. Unbelievably, I caught the apocalyptic sphere that was hurtling towards my frail and frightened body.

I contemplated taking off my glove and running into the house. Something about “Death by softball” did not sit well with me. At the same time there was something about catching and throwing the ball that felt good…. empowering, dangerous, and magical.

I chose to stay in the game and with my wiry frame hurled the ball back at my father. He quickly caught it and threw it back. His quick catch and throw was beautiful to watch. His feet were light and agile, his head steady, and his hands so fast I almost didn’t see the ball coming. I cataloged every one of his movements in my head and used it to mimic my father as I collected and returned each ball.

The balls were coming faster and faster, and I could hear the ball hissing as it pushed against the air. My index finger throbbed with pain each time the ball snapped into the leather glove. It didn’t bother me. I was trading thunderbolts with my father. I was a Spartan boy being shown the ways of a warrior by his father. A feeling of elitism radiated through me. As we kicked up dust in our magical exchange I threw one final ball and readied myself for yet another thrilling, stinging catch.

My father just held the ball. He held the ball and stared at me. It was more than a stare. In his silence, and in the look in his eyes, he had claimed me as his son. I was beaming, and I know at that moment he saw the light in my eyes and I saw it in his. He was my father and I was his son. As my father stared at me he didn’t say a word. His placid, proud gaze spoke to my soul and it told me that I had become battle tested and my time had come.

Run with the wolves, catch bolts of lightning, tackle waves from the ocean and under no circumstances do you dare sail a ship of safety. Be a boy. Be one who seeks adventure and courage.

But just as quick as that proud gaze came to my father’s face, it suddenly disappeared. My father’s reverent stare turned into a look that only a little boy gets after he finds out he’s in trouble. He quickly took off his glove, put his arms at his sides, and I felt as though he was afraid to look at me.

I didn’t understand my father’s pain, but in that moment of time I sensed it was there. I felt it in my heart. I felt I was losing him and my heart was breaking. Out of desperation I asked once again how he learned to play softball so well. His answer to this day kept my heart from breaking and confirmed his love for me when he said, “One Root Beer at a time.”

We jumped into that ’72 Chevy pickup and drove into town where softball was discussed over more than one can of root beer (please don’t tell my mom). I remember asking him why he stopped playing softball and he said something so pointedly true about anyone who has a love affair with a sport. “I’ve never stopped playing ball, I just watch more than I actually want to.”

I know there are many like me who wonder what happened to the light in their father’s eyes, a light that confirms a father’s love for his son. What many of us don’t know is who the thief is that stole the light in our father’s eyes. Was it a traumatic childhood experience? Time spent in a war as a young man? Or perhaps he was forced to grow up too fast and later saw the unavoidable sinkhole that kept him from being a kid. I will never know.

For several years I have worked in youth soccer and in every coaching lesson I prepare I write “Find the Light” at the top of the page. It reminds me to find that place that feeds a young soul, a realm with elements of curiosity, anxiety, danger and fun. A realm where time ceases to exist because of the fun they experience and the victory of accomplishing something that feeds their soul. And in that realm there are bright eyes, smiles and a look of victory.

When I see it, I say a little prayer. “Lord, feed the light within them, and show them to find the light in others.”

Now that I’m older, I realize that we need to have that same eye contact with our Heavenly Father as well as our earthly fathers. We need to know that He looks at us with eyes of love and acceptance. And because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, that’s exactly how He does look at us.

I often get accused by colleagues, friends and even family of my apparent refusal to grow up when it comes to coaching. The time is my time playing with kids could be better served in some other endeavor. I respectfully disagree (as I stick my tongue out). My response; nah, nah, nah, you can’t make me and you’re not my dad.

Donovan Gibson is a featured children’s author for Halo Publishing International. His current picture book “The Ticker That Needed a Fixer” was scheduled for release in September 2011. His work has also been published in Celebrate Life magazine, Children’s Ministry Magazine, and several others.


Tottenham v Man City: Perfect start is over

Manchester City’s perfect league record has gone – proof the title race is no foregone conclusion.


This weekend, the league leaders are confronted by a London club once more, Tottenham Hotspur. City conceded their first goals of the season against West Ham so having captain Vincent Kompany available again is a timely boost. David Silva’s missing, but Sergio Aguero to continue his habit of scoring against Spurs as he strives to get back to his best. Continue reading

How to Buy a Best Fastpitch Softball Bat 2016?

How to Buy a Best Fastpitch Softball Bat 2016?

When choosing to invest in a best fastpitch softball bats 2016 (sometimes called “sticks”), there’s a lot of things that you might like to consider… bat material, length, weight, weight distribution, and grip. You then need to correlate these items for your build and preferences because unfortunately fastpitch bats usually are not always one-size-fits-all. Let’s go into the important points to determine if we can help demystify the process.

Bat Material

fastpitch bats come basically in two unique materials, composite or metal. There are positives and negatives to each, however the majority of companies have moved most of their business to employing the composite materials for fastpitch softball. Normally the composites are usually the better alternative due to their durability, capability to perform in colder climates, along with the innovations in composite technology. Continue reading

How To Best Choose The Right Softball Bat For You

How To Best Choose The Right Softball Bat For You

When playing slow pitch softball, you must have the correct equipment to use, especially slow pitch softball bats. These types of bats were created to be the very best for playing slow pitch in comparison to fast pitch. Keeping the best bat can go a long way towards helping a player get more comfortable with their batting and improve their overall performance.

These bats can come in several sizes and weights to be optimized for the player that will be using it. The bat that’s a great fit for one player might not work for another. That’s the reason it’s essential to get a sense for a bat that fits right with your sex and proportions.

There are several places where a person can get best slowpitch softball bats 2016. There’s a wide selection of retail stores that sell them. They can be available at sporting goods outlets, and even many big box stores who have a sporting goods section have these items in stock. Walking into a retail location to get this item is the best situation for people that are not certain what bat will be best for them. They’ll be able to grip them and get a feel for the bat to find out if it is the right one before they buy it.

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tennis tournament

Memorial excited about playing host to district tennis tournament

There’s a different excitement around the District 27-5A tennis tournament this year. That is especially true for Memorial, which is getting to host the tennis tournament for the first time in a very long time.

“I don’t think Victoria has hosted the district tournament in over 25 years,” Memorial coach Steve Hoover said. “It’s a great opportunity for our kids. We have the homecourt advantage, which our kids have never had. They can sleep in their own beds. They can have their friends out to watch them and there’s a lot of positive things in that.”

Play will begin at 10 a.m. today at the Memorial senior campus tennis courts and the final rounds will be played on Friday morning. Even though Hoover has all the responsibilities of staging the tournament, no matter the weather, he finds this much less stressful. “The weather is not a big concern,” he said. “The last I saw, it was supposed to be nice. We’ll get it in one way or the other. We have to get it in. And we still have Saturday, if we need that extra day. That’s why we set it up that way. “The most enjoyable part for me is I know where everything is,” Hoover added. “I know where the facility is and what type of court surface. It makes it a more enjoyable tournament and less stressful, for sure, since I don’t have to worry about hotels and meals.” KING, CARROLL STRONGEST TEAMS Some things won’t change. Corpus Christi King and Corpus Christi Carroll will still be the strongest teams but Hoover is hoping that Memorial will pull off a few surprises.

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The Nature Coast Tennis Foundation hosted the 2013 Simon Toftegaard Memorial Junior Tennis Tournament at the Delta Woods Park tennis courts in Spring Hill, Jan. 26 and 27. Forty-nine players competed in three divisions.

The foundation donated a case of K3 tennis balls to each of the county boys and girls high school and middle school tennis teams. Proceeds from the various tennis tournaments and family socials the foundation holds throughout the year promote the game of tennis in Hernando County. The foundation is a nonprofit organization. For information, send email to

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Baseball bats and Brits

Baseball bats and Brits: Here are the reviews from the Greatests

“Widespread rioting has created a surge in demand for baseball bats in the United Kingdom, although it’s not clear whether the buyers are would-be looters or people trying to defend themselves from said looting,” writes Brian Palmer for “Why would Brits choose baseballbats over cricket bats? Movies, possibly. Many people in the U.K. seem to associate baseball batswith violence … The idea of baseball-related combat has become so common in England that theatre companies regularly call BaseballSoftballUK, the country’s development agency for the two sports, seeking bats for staged beatings. In addition, one of the organization’s female members was once singled out on a bus by a police officer who demanded that she produce a softball to prove that she wasn’t carrying her bat as a weapon.”

Spare the train staff

“Stressed-out train commuters are being urged to work off their frustrations on giant punch bags,” says Orange News UK. “The bags – which appeared at stations in the Chinese capital Beijing’s subway network this week – are designed to reduce the number of travellers taking out rush hour stress on staff. ‘Each year, you will spend about 1,824 minutes waiting at stops, don’t waste time, please have a few punches on our pressure-releasing pillars,’ say the punchbags. Restaurant worker Fu Zhenglong said: ‘They’re really cool for Chinese boys, because we all like martial arts and like punching. When I’ve got sad or worrying things on my mind that I can’t talk about, I’ll come here to work them off.’ One guard added: ‘As long as they’re punching them and not us, I’m happy.'”

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baseball bats safety

MLB to discuss baseball bats safety

Major League Baseball‘s Safety and Health Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet today in New York to discuss what many consider is an epidemic of maple bats exploding on contact with thebaseball and the barrels becoming dangerous projectiles.

Is maple on its way to becoming extinct from baseball and just another tree in the forest, or are there going to be restrictions on its use?

Everything will be under review by the committee, including putting netting in the stands up and down the base lines, discussing whether players are illegally modifying the weight-length ratios of the bats and whether kiln drying techniques are making the maple bats too light for collisions withbaseballs thrown at 90-plus mph.

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The eco-friendly washing machine that relies on 1.3 million tiny beads

The eco-friendly washing machine that relies on 1.3 million tiny beads

Washing machines stuffed with millions of little nylon balls might be the start of a revolution in how we wash textiles, if Xeros has its way.

After several years of research the company is selling commercial washing machines that use a fraction of the water of traditional machines, thanks to the small balls that fill the washer drum and act as cleaning agents.

“If you take it all the way back to basically being a textile or garment on a rock on a river, that’s really the same type of science that’s been in place around cleaning things – textiles in particular – since the beginning of time,” said Jonathan Benjamin, Xeros president for North America. His company hopes to drive the industry forward.

The technology has its roots at the University of Leeds, where researchers were trying to dye fabrics more effectively. While experimenting with polymer beads, they noticed the beads were excellent at absorbing things. Why not use the beads to create a greener washing machine?

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