Tag Archives: on green diamonds

PURSUING YOUR DREAMS

A bit of inspiration for today!

PursuingYourDream

Most people have dreams of things they want to do or become in life. They set goals and work hard trying to make those dreams come true. The bigger the dream; the harder it is to accomplish,

No matter the size of the one’s dream, there will come aTimeinLife when things go awry. It happens in the real world! Those who succeed find a way to get back on the proper path and continue their journey. They are willing to do everything they can to make their dream(s) become reality. They are committed and know that holding on to their dreams is the best thing they can do.

No matter how grim things may seem, if the dream is important to you, don’t ever let go! There will come a day when you will be glad you kept pursuing your dreams.

Wishing you the best in making your dreams come true!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

Novels:

(1) On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream

(2) If Tigers Were Angels: With God, All Things Are Possible

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

YOUR DREAM BEYOND THE WALL

Let me start by saying I think it is wonderful when anyone achieves his/her dream in life. It doesn’t happen by chance; it requires a lot of hard work, passion, ability, and sacrifices to make it become a reality—maybe even a little luck to boot! Their accomplishments are certainly commendable because they never gave up. They faced many walls and succeeded. Congratulations!

However, for many others, pursuing a dream in life is much like playing a game—sometimes we win—sometimes we lose. No one ever said turning a life-long dream into reality was going to be easy. It’s great when we are successful, but many of us have to learn how to cope with disappointments.

We’ve all heard things like: we should never give up; the next door will be the one; keep trying; don’t believe it when others tell you it’s impossible, etc. Those are very positive-well-meaning-encouraging comments. I not only agree with them; I also say them because I believe them.

However, when I look at things realistically, I know pursuing a dream requires making a series of midcourse adjustments and “game-changing” decisions along the way. Although “staying the course” may work very well for many folks, it may not always be the best option for everyone.

What? I can’t believe I just wrote that! Have I turned into Chicken Little in my old age?

No, the sky is not falling, and I’m not Chicken Little either, but the statement is true in many cases. Many of us reach aTimeinLife when what we have worked so hard to become or do in life may not be possible to achieve. Saying it nicely, sometimes things just happen, and often times, they are beyond our control. I know because I’ve been there—many times. The path to our dream in life involves a long journey with many twists, turns, and “brick walls” that can make achieving them very difficult, although not impossible.

When reality comes knocking on our door, we must decide whether to continue playing the game the same way hoping things will improve, alter our strategy to achieve better results, or try doing something completely different. Being flexible and making adjustments during the game can actually be a good thing. In fact, that’s what life is all about—making decisions and necessary adjustments—finding ways to topple the “brick walls” we encounter.

To clarify what I mean, allow me to share a true story about John Dalton (not his real name).

John spent the first eighteen years of his life pursuing a dream to play major league baseball. He had big plans for making his dream become reality. He worked hard, gave it his best each year, made tremendous sacrifices, and battled through injuries because he was determined to fulfill his childhood dream. He was doing everything right. People in his community even encouraged him by telling him he was a great baseball player—he had natural ability—God had given him a special gift. Such comments helped John believe in himself and his dream, which was definitely a good thing.

When John was a senior in high school, a Division 1 university sent a scout to watch him pitch. It was late in the season, but John had remained hopeful he could make his dream in life come true because he was playing well. This was his first opportunity to display his baseball talents in front of an interested scout; it was his moment to put his special gift on display. The many years of blood, sweat, and tears pursuing his dream had come down to a single performance during one game. It was John’s judgment day for his life-long dream.

Unfortunately, John had a miserable outing and only pitched three innings before the coach had to take him out of the game. His “spotlight” performance did not reveal his true talent. What happened to John that day is anybody’s guess, but the result was he didn’t receive any scholarship offers to play college baseball. Reality was knocking on John’s door. He kept fighting a mental “go or no-go” battle to keep his dream alive, but time was not on his side.

His best friend Derrick said,

“Bo, you have to face the fact that you just aren’t good enough to play college baseball, and you better forget about playing big-league ball too. You need to start looking for something else to do in life.”

Derrick’s remark sent John into a downward spiral until he hit rock bottom. Reality had not only knocked on his door; it came into his room and punched him in his stomach. John’s dream was slipping away and he felt Derrick had betrayed him at a time when he most needed his friend’s support. The forbidden word “failure” entered John’s mind for the first time and his dream in life was quickly turning into a nightmare of reality. He was confused, dejected, and felt all alone. He didn’t know what to do next.

Well, Derrick actually was being supportive of John. When the shock of Derrick’s remarks finally wore off, John realized Derrick was right. In his cold-crude-negative manner, Derrick had actually encouraged John to stop wasting time and to start pursuing a different game in life—to make adjustments.

It wasn’t easy, but that’s exactly what John did—he made some tough decisions and changed his game. He chose to start pursuing a degree in engineering and wanted to become a pilot in the Air Force. He played the engineering game well, but the pilot thing never materialized. John’s less than 20/20 vision was another dream killer—he never became a pilot. Another dream vanished for reasons beyond John’s control.

John completed his “desk-flying” military commitment and started his engineering career with a large corporation. He worked hard, advanced through management levels, and retired thirty years later. Although John never achieved two of his major dreams in life, his game-changing decision to pursue an engineering career proved successful.

After John retired, he began reflecting on his life and realized the vicissitudes he experienced during his journey had provided him with valuable knowledge about life. He started pursuing another dream to help others by sharing his knowledge through writing inspirational/motivational novels and articles about the game of life. He felt helping those who were willing to learn from his life-lessons was the best use of his talents—it was God’s plan for him all along. He had to learn hard lessons before he could effectively help others.

When asked if he had any regrets about spending all those years chasing his dream to play major league baseball, John smiled and gave this response:

“Should I have regrets? God blessed me with a talent for baseball and I developed it to the best of my abilities. Yes, it was my dream—my plan to play in the majors. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t God’s plan for me. His plan was for me to use my baseball talents to coach youth and help them pursue their dreams. I’ve done that and it has been a blessing for me. If I could do everything all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Regrets? I don’t have a one!”

So, what is the point of John’s story? The point is that all of us need to have dreams in life, and we should pursue those dreams with passion and courage. It’s wonderful when our dreams come to fruition. However, we should also be willing to recognize that having backup plans are also important in case things go awry. It’s not the end of the world if they do; it just requires a change in direction.

One significant thing to understand about John’s experiences is that he didn’t fail to achieve his dreams. Instead, he simply made mid-course adjustments in life to pursue something different. Bottom line, John actually succeeded.

Part of being successful in life is recognizing our limitations and not being afraid to alter our dreams when it becomes the best option. Just because we have dreams in life doesn’t mean we possess the talent, abilities, or luck to make them happen. The cliché about continuously beating your head against a brick wall expecting different results each time isn’t a crazy statement. If you don’t alter your strategy when trying to topple the brick wall, the only thing you will have at the end of the day is a horrible headache.

YourDreamBrickwall2

When pursuing your dreams, be willing to adjust your strategy or accept the fact that you may not be able to knock the wall down. Changing your dream is not an acceptance of failure; it’s intelligently recognizing that you need to spend your time pursuing a different dream. You only fail if you decide to do nothing or give up completely. Move on with your life by making adjustments that are right for you. Then, hold your head high and celebrate your successes!

You Can—you WILL achieve your dreams in life!

Consider following John Dalton’s recommendation:

“If you want to be inspired to pursue your dreams in life or to help someone else, I recommend you read On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream. This clean story features a young boy learning life-lessons while pursuing his dream with the help of a dedicated mentor. The plot is wholesome, thought provoking, and filled with practical content for all age groups—teens, parents, friends, and coaches. It’s available at the Amazon author link below. Read it and share the experience. Someone out there is in need of your help.”

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

EXPERIENCING TENSION?

TensionMessage1A

Searching for good stories to read that will reduce TENSION in your life? Stories that will help you relax, smile, and forget your worries? Stories that will lift your spirits and reduce stress?

Well, search no more—solutions await at

http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

You’re already on the internet, so what do you have to lose? It will be time well spent! Check it out for yourself—you deserve to be TENSION free!

THANK YOU and YOU’RE WELCOME!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

AND THE EDITOR SAID…

I received the following comment from the editor who worked on my manuscript ON GREEN DIAMONDS: PURSUING A DREAM. The editor did not have to send the comments to me, nor did he/she receive additional compensation for doing so. Yes, the editor also made some helpful suggestions that enhanced the story, which were incorporated into the published novel. Nice to work with someone who appreciates the content of a story and is willing to share their thoughts! Feeling blessed!

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Editor

“The manuscript was a joy to read and it warmed the heart. The straightforward way of telling the story was great, and it was pretty much on point—some stories go into tangents, but this one never does, so the narrative felt solid throughout. It was well written and easy to read, qualities which are always a plus. Thank you for sharing this story. I enjoyed it very much. All the best!”

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ON GREEN DIAMONDS FRONT

Unfortunately, due to my publisher’s internal policies, I cannot reveal the name of the editor who shared the comments without getting him/her reprimanded. However, the manuscript is now a published novel and is available for purchase from the majority of online bookstores. Get a copy and see if the editor got it right. The book comes in paperback, hardback, and eBook formats.

As always, I thank you for your support—enjoy the story. Please don’t forget to share your honest comments!

Blessings,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

BULLYING – WHAT IS ONE TO DO?

I grew up in a Christian family and always tried to do the “right” thing, but these two Bible verses diametrically oppose each other. The two verses cause a bit of a dilemma as to what one should do when faced with a difficult situation such as bullying.

Leviticus 24:19-20 (NIV)

Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.

Matthew 5:38-39 (NIV)

 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

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This is a true story of a bullying experience I had in my youth. In your opinion, which Bible verse is appropriate to follow in the bullying example presented in this article? Did I do the right thing? Did I overreact? Would you have handled it differently? I invite you to share your thoughts.

Bullying is not a new activity; it has been around for eons. The difference between bullying during my childhood and that of today seems to be about numbers—bullies tend to operate in “packs” today as opposed to the lone-wolf bullies during my youth. Add to that the “you can’t discipline a child” attitude that exists in today’s world and you have an environment that actually promotes bully behavior.

Bullying1BW

When I was a young boy, my father was never shy about the discipline thing; I’m grateful he wasn’t. I was also fortunate to have a father who drew a line in the sand between good and bad behavior. I always knew which side I was supposed to walk on. Unfortunately, many kids today don’t have a father figure to draw the line for them. Heck, many kids don’t even know who their father is.

Dad taught me to treat others respectfully, especially girls. He told me there would be times when others would not do the same to me. His advice to me was, “Son, never pick a fight, but never run from one either. Try to be the bigger man and walk away when possible. However, if it’s not practical to walk away, stand your ground and protect your friends and yourself.”

Well, there was a time in life when I was in the eighth grade. I was shy, soft-spoken, and pretty much a loner. The few friends I had were more like acquaintances rather than bosom-buddies. There was a guy (let’s call him Bob) in my class that had been held back a few years, so he was about two-years older. He was the class bully and made life miserable for many of my classmates. Everyone feared him.

I was walking down the stairs to my next class one day, as were many other students. Bob was on his way up. When he got beside me, he shoved me against the wall sending my books flying all over the place. The other students backed away fearing he’d do the same to them. I gave him the “Tatum” evil eye, but proceeded to pick up my books. He approached me and did it again. I told him he had better not do it again or he would regret it. The “turn the other cheek” thing was boiling within me, but the “eye for eye” thing started dancing in my mind. However, I contained myself.

Bullying2BW2

Bob laughed and mocked me. “What ya gonna do little boy?” as he proceeded to do it again. That’s when the “eye for eye” of Leviticus took control. Without saying another word, I pushed him against the wall. He lost his balance and rolled down a few steps. My reaction enraged him because no one had ever stood up to him before, at least not in front of a group of fellow students. He jumped up quickly and charged at me again. That’s when I placed him in a headlock and landed two quick punches to his midsection. He fell to his knees gasping for air. I shouted, “I told you not to do it again!”

I calmly gathered my books and headed to my next class as if nothing had happened. The other students started cheering as I walked away, but they didn’t hang around very long—fear of what Bob would do to them returned, so they scattered quickly.

Was I pleased with what I did? No! Did I do the right thing? You tell me?!? I tried to walk away as Dad told me to do, but Bob persisted—he was an obnoxious bully. I did not pick the fight, but again, I did as Dad told me to do—I stood my ground and protected myself.

The interesting thing that came out of this was Bob never bullied me or any other student after that day. He ceased his bullying antics and blended in with the rest of us. I guess Bob just needed someone to stand up to him—someone to show him the light. For that, I’m proud. I even picked up a couple new friends after the incident. However, the question remains—did I do the Christian thing?

I never talked to Bob after our encounter, nor do I know what happened to him as he moved on with his life. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear he became a minister and started serving the Lord. That comes from Dad telling me I should always look for the good in others, but in Bob’s case, the preacher thing may be taking it a bit too far.

Bullying annoys me and I even devoted a chapter to “pack” bullying in my novel On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream. It involves the bullying of a young, fatherless boy. Please check it out and let me know what you think about that situation also.

ON GREEN DIAMONDS FRONT

Be blessed, respect others, don’t pick fights, but stand your ground when necessary. One more thing—always remember to help your friends in bully situations too. You might even help tame a bully by doing so.

Did someone bully you when you were a child? Do you know someone who has or is currently being bullied? Have you ever been a bully? What is the best way to handle bullying?

Simply comment on this post or send a private email to ongreendiamonds@gmail.com if you prefer. Either way, I’d like to hear about your personal experiences.

Peace,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

MY FIRST PET

When I was about six years old, my parents gave me a dog. It wasn’t anything special and looked much like Petey on the popular television show from long ago, The Little Rascals. I didn’t even know what kind of dog she was, but that didn’t matter—she was mine.

I named her Inky because of the large black spots that were scattered randomly all over her body. Inky became my best friend and followed me everywhere I went, which was all over our neighborhood. We were inseparable, and I loved that dog.

I was completely responsible for her. I had to feed, bathe, and make sure she had water to drink. Caring for her was actually good training for me, as it taught me a lot about responsibility.

Inky and I had been together for about three years, and my love for her had grown stronger each year. I came home from school one day and couldn’t find her. I searched all over the neighborhood looking for her. I kept calling her name, but there was no response. I thought she was lost. I was devastated.

I continued searching for hours, and finally I saw her under the house. Back then, our house didn’t have a foundation curtain wall around the perimeter. There was nothing to prevent you from seeing under the house. I called her name, but she didn’t move. I crawled under the house to get her. When I put my hand on her, she still didn’t move and felt cold. I continued talking to her, but there was no response.

I ran inside the house and told Mama I found Inky but I couldn’t make her wake up. Mama came outside with me and called to Inky, but she still didn’t move. That’s when Mama hugged me tightly and started crying. I didn’t know what was going on, but I figured it wasn’t happy tears, as she sometimes called them. This was very different—I could sense pain as she started talking to me in a shaky voice.

“Inky is. . . um, Inky went to dog heaven to be with Jesus,” she said.

“No she didn’t! She’s right there. Mama, make her wake up!”

“Tommy, Inky’s spirit is in dog heaven with Jesus. She’s not coming back home. You need to bury Inky’s body because her heart has stopped beating. I’m so sorry, but Inky is not coming back. . . she’s dead.”

I shouted, “No! No! No! I want Inky to come back! Please let Inky come back to me,” I yelled as I ran to my secret hiding place up in the huge oak tree in our backyard. I climbed up as high as I could and sat there crying my heart out. I wanted Inky to come back home to me. I sat there for about an hour, I guess. To me, Inky was just resting. . . nothing else. I knew she would come back out from under the house to play with me.

Then Mama walked out to the tree with a shovel in her hand. That was the day when the frailty of life hit me hard. I had never considered that Inky could be dead. I didn’t really even know what being dead meant. I had never experienced anything like that before, except for the fish Dad and I caught. Even then, I didn’t think about the fish being dead. It was the process we went through in order to eat them.

“Tommy, I know you’re upset, but this is something that happens to all living things. They are born, they live for a while, and then they go to heaven. Now come on down. It’s time for you to bury Inky. She needs to have a proper funeral. You can put her grave over there by the fence.”

I came down from my hiding place, and Mama handed me the shovel. I could hardly see because of the tears in my eyes. All I could think about was I didn’t want to bury Inky, but it didn’t matter. Mama told me I had to do it. She handed me a plastic bag and told me to place Inky in the bag before I buried her.

I started digging and my tears continued streaming down my cheeks onto the soil. I cried so much while I was digging that I think I ran out of tear juice. I placed Inky in the hole and covered her with the tear-soaked soil. When I finished, Mama came over and handed me a cross that had “INKY RIP” written on it. I placed the cross in the ground at the head of her grave. Mama said it was time for us to say a prayer for Inky.

I bowed my head as Mama said, “Jesus, Inky is in dog heaven with you now. Please take good care of her. She was a good dog, and I know she will be good for you too. Amen. Do you want to say something, Tommy?”

All I could manage was, “I love you, Inky. Please come back home.”

I then climbed back up into the tree to my hiding place and sat for a long time. Mama didn’t say anything else and went back inside the house. Having Inky with me for three years was great, but having her go to dog heaven was tough on me.

When I came home from school each day, I went out to Inky’s grave and knelt down beside her. I talked to her, but I never heard her bark in reply. I did this every day for about a month. I managed to live through the experience, and I guess it helped me appreciate the time I did have with Inky…

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

+++ BACKGROUND INFORMATION +++

The preceding is a true story from my youth. I changed the name of the boy and used the story as a scene in my novel ON GREEN DIAMONDS: PURSUING A DREAM where one of the main characters (Gabe) reflected on an experience from his childhood. There are many other life lessons throughout the book. Hope you have a chance to read the full story, which is available from most online bookstores in eBook, paperback, and hardback formats.

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

contact Tom by e-mail at OnGreenDiamonds@gmail.com

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Finding Dad

FirstGameNoDadWPFond memories often invoke some sad ones too. My dad came to every baseball game I played from little league through American Legion. He and my mom were obviously the most loyal fans I had watching me. Mom was more of a spectator while Dad taught me everything I learned about the game. Just his presence at the ballpark was a stabilizing mental factor for me, serving as an anchor for my performance during the games.

Each time I took the mound, I looked around the fence line to see if Dad was there to watch me play. I knew he would be, but it was tough finding him sometimes because he never sat in the stands. He liked to walk around the field, perching himself in different locations, and never stayed in any one spot very long. He’d always tell me to concentrate on my game and forget about him being there or where he was.

I never listened to him though. I would look around the field every inning until I found his new location. Seeing him standing quietly by the fence gave me the self-confidence I needed to perform at my very best. It was as if we were playing a little game of hide-n-seek within the baseball game itself.

The first time I pitched without Dad watching me occurred at my first college game. It was very difficult for me. Even though I knew he wasn’t going to be there, I still searched every foot of the fence line around the field in hopes of finding him. You see, a heart attack had taken Dad away from us three months earlier at the young age of forty-five—the very number I chose to grace my uniform. The thought he would never be there to see me play baseball again was a tough reality I had to accept.

I was scared, nervous, and had more anxiety than ever before. The butterflies in my gut were about to push me to the point of feeling as though I was paralyzed from the neck down. I sat in the dugout before the game wondering how I was going to pitch that first time without Dad being there. I wanted to play—heck, I needed to play our little hide-n-seek game within the real game, but he was nowhere to be found. I felt all alone on the green diamond for the first time in my life. I finally collected myself and found enough courage to force myself to run from the dugout out to the mound for the first inning. It was the longest run in my baseball career.

It was time for me to suck it up and do exactly what Dad had taught me to do—BELIEVE IN MYSELF! With my back facing home plate, I removed my cap and looked up at a puffy, white cloud in the sky. I prayed, not for God to help me, but for Him to let Dad somehow be with me that day. I tossed the rosin bag to the ground and then faced the batter. My whole body was shaking as I toed the rubber for my first pitch in a game without Dad being there to give me that much needed confidence.

I took several deep breaths as the catcher signaled for a fastball with his index finger pointing straight down. Visions of Dad doing the same thing a million times flashed before me, causing a warm feeling to spread throughout my body. I felt an inner peace, and my self-confidence quickly grew stronger. I realized I had found Dad’s new location and felt his presence in that puffy cloud high above the field.

My anxiety seemed to vanish as I hurled my first pitch of the game and heard the umpire yell Dad’s favorite word, “Stttriiikkkeee!” It was exactly the sound I needed to hear at that critical moment in my life. From then on, I knew exactly where to find my Dad at the ballpark—he was always looking down at me with a big smile on his face, and that was all I needed.

Dad, thanks for all the things you did for me, but most of all, thank you for all the things you did WITH me…

If you are a player, I hope your parents are there supporting you the way mine did. If you are a parent, be there and cheer for your child, but let the coaches do the coaching. Your presence means more to them than you can possibly imagine.

Topic from the novel, On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Reflections of a Grandfather

BTandSam2Life is a series of experiences—some good, some bad. We celebrate the good ones and try to learn valuable lessons from the bad—both build our character—both mold us into what we become. I seem to be at a point in my life where more retrospective thoughts invade my mind—triggered by experiences taking place in current times.

As I watch my grandchildren growing up, I sometimes remember similar things I did when I was young. Although we are separated by five decades, I can still relate to many of their experiences. However, with the changes in society I have witnessed through the years, I can’t help but wonder what the future has in store for them. I pray they continue to include God in their lives and keep asking Him to help them live as He would have them do—as modern-day disciples who are willing to share His word with others—as good role models for those who will look up to them in the future.

I’ve been watching my grandsons play baseball for many years. I’m what people would refer to as a “rover” because I never sit down—just can’t stay in the same spot very long. I’m constantly walking along the fence while keeping my eyes fixed on the action on the field. I try not to miss a thing—every play is important—each moment is precious, no matter the outcome. It’s learning about life. You see, I love my grandchildren and want them to experience life to the fullest. Winning or losing is no longer the most important thing to me now—what they learn about life and character from playing the game is foremost.

While at a baseball game watching one of my grandsons play, the writer in me started churning with an idea for a new book. I started reflecting on my experiences on the green diamonds and the immediate result was a short blurb, “Reflections of a Grandfather.” This seemingly simple reflection blossomed and led me to write On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream. A novel about character, faith, loyalty, helping others, and facing hurdles in life—a moral compass for living.

REFLECTIONS OF A GRANDFATHER

Baseball transcends all generations and brings young and old together for short moments in time—moments to share dreams of being the best you can be on the grandest stage of all. Baseball— it’s not just a game—it’s life being played out on a diamond of green,  a field of dreams, where men become boys, and boys become men, all speaking a universal language without ever saying a word. The coach gives a series of gestures as if conducting an orchestra and the play is on. Each player knows what needs to be done and they expect their teammates to do their best—it’s called a TEAM—win as a team, lose as a team, but always play as a team.

It has been 45 years since the ole man last stood on the pitcher’s mound for his final baseball game, proudly wearing the number 53 on his uniform. The feeling of being in control of the situation and looking toward the catcher for the sign of the next pitch caused his heart to pound. With the eyes of an eagle, he then stared at the batter in hopes of sending him back to the dugout on three strikes. Visions of blowing a fastball past a late swing or throwing curves so awesome that a batter goes to his knees when trying to hit it danced in his mind—all of this while never uttering a word.

The windup, the pitch, the swing, and the final batter he would ever face went down on three strikes—last out, game won, and a career ended…

Just memories of an aging grandfather—a man pausing in peaceful solitude, while reflecting on some of his special moments of long ago. His thoughts bring a smile to his face, and yes, maybe even the hint of a tear in his aging eyes. Not from what once was and will never be again, but for what is to come—his grandsons carrying the fire of the game into the future—that burning desire—the passion for those who will follow—those yet to be born.

Now, old # 53 stands silently beside a fence that surrounds a neatly trimmed baseball field as he watches his grandsons playing the game. A sense of pride swells in his chest knowing they share his love for the game. His heart still pounds, but for different reasons now. He crosses his fingers with every pitch in hopes, they too, will experience similar euphoric moments in their lives just as he once did. The sharp eyes of the eagle have long since faded, but his heart still pounds at the sound of a bat contacting a ball in the crisp spring air.

Joy comes in many shapes and sizes, but for him, watching the young boys, his grandsons, warms his soul. The thought of them pursuing a dream brings new meaning to life and rekindles a spirit within that has lain dormant for years. A spirit that shares the joy of success, the agony of defeat, gratitude for the present, and hope for the future.

However, it’s not about old #53; it’s about the young boys and their dreams—their passions.  Their opportunities to experience life—to spread their wings, not as he did, but even better—with unbridled success while creating memories that they too will have as they grow in time and experience their own “REFLECTIONS OF A GRANDFATHER.”

Tom Tatum -2015

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