My grandparents met in high school—my grandfather played baseball while my grandmother played softball. My dad used to tell me about how they met; though they went to different schools—both single-sex Catholic academies—they had practice in the same park. Though they never spoke, there was always a weird tension between them—and between the teams in general. I guess that’s just what happened when your practices align.
Anyway, the men’s and women’s teams, though playing on separate diamonds, left their gear and water bottles in the same general area. This is how the teams became acquainted, through quick jokes and brief asides while grabbing a snack or drink. Still, despite this closeness, they didn’t speak… that is, until my grandmother forgot one essential piece of equipment.
At the beginning of her junior-year season, my grandmother forgot her glove. This was, apparently, a bigger deal than I thought it’d be. It was during pre-season training, which is essentially try-outs. She wanted to make the varsity team to include the detail on her college applications for the following year, but without a glove, she wouldn’t be able to even try out. According to my dad, my grandfather noticed her crying, asked what was wrong, and generously donated his glove for the day.
Unfortunately, the boys team was also in the middle of their try-outs. After finding out he didn’t have a glove, the coach kicked my grandfather off the team for “not being prepared,” or something dumb like that. Luckily, he was able to fight his way back onto the roster when a player had to quit a few weeks later. Still, the potential sacrifice is touching, and that brief communication sparked a lifetime romance.
They both died a few years ago—within months of each other. The other day, I was helping my dad clean out the family house, and it was my duty to clear the basement. I found both of their gloves, stacked together on a shelf toward the back of the room. I miss them dearly, but I love their story. I keep the gloves in my own basement, now, sometimes going down to use them while playing catch with my own son.