The Bucket

28 Apr

When Krissy was in fifth grade, her rec softball coach yelled at the end of practice, “We need more pitchers. Anybody want to try??” Krissy looked at me and said “I do.” I okayed it, but thought “Oh, goodness.”

She went out to the mound and threw a few pitches, and low and behold, she was not half bad. Okay, so her coaches worked with her but told her the only way she would be better is to practice off the field.

Hence, the bucket. We would go out into the yard, I would sit on a bucket, and she would throw the ball ANYWHERE BUT to me. I dreaded it. I made Drew go stand behind us, knowing he would catch far more balls than I.

As she continued to work, a friend started working with her. Helping her develop form. He did that for a while. She eventually hit seventh grade and made the JV team at West Florence. As a pitcher. She was tiny compared to all of the other girls. And our friend told us he had helped her as much as he could.

We asked the coach for a recommendation and she brought us to our current pitching coach. She told us Krissy had potential. Over the years she worked hard with Krissy and inspired Krissy to work hard. And I spent more time on the bucket.

Yeah, I tried to get her to throw to a bounce-back net. I bought a sports net with a target. No good. She needed a live catcher.

So the bucket became our time to talk. There has been pain on the bucket. There has been anger on the bucket. There were a handful of times that I thought we would never pitch again. NOT that I pushed Krissy, because I never really had to do that. But she wears her emotions on her sleeves, and there were times when we packed up and I never thought we would go back. But we always did.

The bucket is a symbol of her work ethic. And she is a worker. When she is determined to do something, watch out, because she WILL do it.

The bucket also became a great time for a dad and daughter to talk. And talk we did. We have been through some tough times over the years. And our pitching practice was always a time to talk about that stuff. The ups and downs of life. The times where advice was sought. Over this winter, I started realizing that I would miss sitting on that bucket. In spite of all of the times I got hit, I didn’t feel like being there, or other things in life were pulling me away, I will miss the bucket.

Because the bucket is no more . . . Last night ended all of that. NO, I won’t get rid of the bucket. I might have a grandson or granddaughter (MANY, MANY YEARS FROM NOW) who wants me to sit on that bucket again. And if I am able, I will. But for now, it will have a place of honor in my garage and in my heart.

I will never forget the bucket.

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