Five went to his first baseball practice. Last night, the Captain got all his gear ready. Earlier in the week, he had gone shopping with Three and Five for the necessary items. Three got a new glove, bat, and cleats. Five got a bat, glove, batting helmet, and the most adorable underwear/cup combination I've ever seen. And mind you, I've seen a lot of jocks in this house.
The older boys never wore the combo, because they said it couldn't be properly adjusted. And we all know how they like to adjust their junk. Consequently, Two would wear three layers of protection before he even got into his football pants. First there was a silky layer, to wear under the UnderArmor girdle that held the hip, thigh, and tail pads. Then he would put his jock strap, containing the titanium cup, over the girdle, and adjust as needed. Let me tell you, each and every one of those layers got sweaty. Especially the titanium cup. The first time I pulled it out of the strap, I thought it had gotten wet in the shower. Nope. Eww.
The Captain had prepared Five for the discomfort associated with the wearin' o' the cup. Five decided he would give it a test run. He got into the gear, and had various family members punch him in the penis. He gave a thumbs up for the protective quality of the plastic, and then ran around to see how much it bothered him. After a few minutes, he decided he could live with it.
Five was very excited about practice. He had his bag packed and ready to go, and had even tucked a mini bottle of Gatorade inside. He asked Four to come watch him, so momentous was the occasion. Off we went to the school field. We weren't the first ones there (that never happens when I'm in charge), but Five was unintimidated. He ran down and introduced himself -first and last name-and lined up next to his friend to practice throwing. Four played on the gym set, and then I actually got him to work on his homework. I watched Five from afar, and responded to the Captain's inquiring text messages.
"I haven't even thrown a ball with him since last summer. How does he look?"
"Like he hasn't thrown a ball since last summer. And, like he's seven."
"No. Does he look like he hates it?"
"Nope. He's having fun."
"He's a conundrum, wrapped in a riddle."
Which is true; we can't figure him out. He won't go down the hall to the bathroom without turning on every available light source. He won't play in his room alone. And he absolutely will not go downstairs without company. But he'll run down and introduce himself to a coach he's never met, and throw a ball for thirty minutes, despite his initial bad form. Wonders never cease.
As the light was fading, the team practiced base-running. After each boy crossed home plate, they stopped and adjusted their cup. Some rituals begin early in life.