Joe Cagle

It’s pretty common for most sports fans to look around this time of year and say, “Well, it’s that time of year.”

Specifically, it’s officially baseball and softball season as rec leagues all across Marshall County begin the 2021 season and, of course, Major League Baseball opened its season last week.

Guntersville’s rec league baseball and softball league officially started its season on Saturday and the Douglas rec league teams began playing this past Monday. All of the high schools started baseball and softball season back in February so there’s plenty of chances to get out and watch some games.

I think about baseball season starting and I can’t help but feel excited and relieved all at the same time. It was this time last year that parents and players were having to come to grips with the fact that baseball season would not be happening. All the preparation that goes into making the season happen like ordering jerseys, buying that new glove and opening a fresh box of baseballs was all gone in what seemed like an instant.

At the time most of us felt like it was the right thing to do given the circumstance but it didn’t change the fact that deep down we were all hurting and yearned for things to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

It’s time to rejoice because soon we’ll see parents hauling their fold up chairs back to the T-ball fields to try and get the best spot to watch their son or daughter play. Very soon we’re going to get to see kids run back and forth from the concession stand asking for a second or third hot dog to go along with their bright green Sour Straws. Parents will finally get to soak white pants stained with red dirt in a sink full of bleach and ask, “Why did their coach choose white pants?”

There will be so many sights we didn’t get to take in a year ago that will be enjoyed in 2021 as well as all the sounds that go along with baseball games. The ping of the aluminum bats, the distant sound of cheering from another field, the cute but uninterested center fielder chasing fire flies during the game and of course parents arguing balls and strikes with the umpire.

I admit, I didn’t grow up a huge baseball fan. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. The absence of the game at all levels last spring really made my interest and desire to watch the game soar higher than it ever has before.

In the absence of baseball a year ago, I learned that the game isn’t necessarily all about hitting percentages, earned run averages or even the score on the score board. I learned that baseball truly is as American as the 4th of July. Technically it’s a sport but watching as baseball got cancelled last year, I realized it’s an American institution that means so much to millions of people.

I watched the MLB Opening Day games with a smile last Thursday and I fully intend on having that same smile as I cover rec league games in Guntersville and elsewhere in the county this spring.

The old saying is, you don’t know how much you love something until it’s gone. For me, the loss of baseball last year made me realize how much I subconsciously enjoy baseball and that actually, I love it.

So, whether you’re at a rec league game, a high school game or a Major League game just remember to soak it all in as our athletes play ball!

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