Summer time means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Some families see it as a time to get away to vacation. Other people see it as a time to be out on the lake and enjoy themselves. There are some people that see it as just another season. How do I see summer? I see it as a time for playing baseball with some good friends.
For the past three summers, I have had the privilege of playing with the Hayward Hawks. The team slogan is “the best nights of summer are spent at the ball park” and I truly couldn’t agree more with it. Baseball is America’s pastime, there’s no denying that, and there’s no place I would rather be than at the ball field with some good friends and the sun beating down on the back of my uniform.
Baseball in Hayward has been in its blood for many years. The Hayward Hawks were formed back in 1970. Every time I step out onto the field with my teammates, whether its just practice or an actual game, there is something indescribable about the feeling. One might compare Larry Somerville Field to the field in the movie Field of Dreams. Although the players from the original team may not all still be with us, their presence is felt every time that blue Hawks uniform is pulled on, with every boom of the fireworks on the 4th of July, and with every “Big White” (a large cup of beer) that is poured.
Playing baseball may not be our full time gig and we may only get paid in brats, burgers and beer, but it brings us together summer after summer and year after year. There’s a family aspect to Hawks season. You see the same faces at the games and that’s either something you look forward to or something you dread. (Sometimes you really hear it if you are in a slump). That’s the family dynamic of it all. Your teammates and fans are going to be with you whether to congratulate you when you are tearing it up or to pick you up when you’ve fallen on hard times.
Whenever summer rolls around, we like to believe that we are invincible. That everywhere we go with a Hawks hat on or a Hawks uniform, we are treated like royalty. We don’t deserve any special treatment and we don’t ask for it, because it definitely goes to our heads, but we welcome it gladly wherever it may be given. Being a part of the boys of summer means a great deal to me. That family aspect is something that I can’t quite seem to get enough of. We may get on each other’s cases quite often, but it is more of a brotherly bond than anything. Close games may be won or lost and you may have a rough game here or there, but the kid’s chasing down foul balls are still going to ask for your autograph after the game like you are some Major Leaguer. Here’s hoping that I can be a boy of the summer for many more years to come and that my best nights of summer are still ahead of me.