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Fields of dreams can be everywhere

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By Jeff D'Alessio

I took a drive the other day and the silver Envoy found some neat places in Hardin County.
They were the fields of play for our children from long ago, it now seems.
I drove by University Drive and found myself looking at the ball fields and remembering all the time our family spent there over the years playing, coaching, watching and working in a hot concession stand.
I can still see our son, Tanner, in his Royals T-Ball shirt and a hat that was too big for him, running to first base and smiling. I can see him and his friend, Lance Baker, sitting side by side on the bench, each drinking Capri Sun after a game.
I can see our son on the Peanut League field in his Reds uniform or his All-Star jersey with his glove out in front of him, or his bat ready for action and sunflower seeds in his mouth. Or on the Minor League field where he wore Dodger blue and was turned into a catcher for a year to catch some hard throwing kids including Zeke Pinkham, Cody Bridges and Tad Skaggs when he was just 8.
I sat there, and remembered how easy life seemed back then and I drove off with a sense of sadness that those days have ended, and now baseball has taken a different path, into high school.
I then drove by Gates Field where our other children played softball and the same emotions came back.
I remember our oldest daughter, Amanda, now married and a mother, who had a knack for hitting the ball hard and far and crossing the plate with a big smile on her face when she hit a homerun or delivered a game-winning hit.
I remember seeing our son, Tyler, in a yellow team T-shirt and blue hat showing only mild interest in the game and plenty of interest in the after-game trips to the snack bar.
And then there was Natalie, who carried the same attitude whether she got a base hit or struck out — she wore a wide smile and a pony tail that bounced when she ran. She played to have fun, results mattered very little.
I suppose we all have these places where memories live. A $30 million new sports park can offer many things, but it won’t offer a trip like this.
When I visit my hometown, I always return to where I played baseball and it seems like just yesterday, not more than 30 years ago, when we played and practiced there.
Imagine the memories the other night when the basketball floor at T.K. Stone Middle School — former home of the Elizabethtown High School Panthers — was auctioned.
I am convinced many in attendance remembered where some big shots were made and missed and where a post-game embrace had been held.
Time and progress take many things from us, but not these kind of memories. They are chiseled into our minds and hearts forever.
Jeff D'Alessio is News Editor of The News-Enterprise. He can
be reached at (270) 505-1757, or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com