We were going home today, so we were sad. We took one last drive to the park.
We passed that weird blue bubble thing one last time.
We took one last look at this view.
ESPN had dropped us like a hot potato after our last loss. Enh, whatever. It was fun and deeply weird while it lasted, ESPN.
Eve lightening the mood with a little photo-bombing, after stealing my sunglasses.
And then I caught sight of this and got all choked up again.
It was our consolation game against Puerto Rico. All the kids who barely got to play were used for pitching and got to hit in the regular rotation, so Angus was hardly in the game, but every time he was on the diamond he was smiling.
Kids who hadn't gotten a hit the whole series were suddenly hitting up a storm.
It was like all the pressure and tension just faded away, and they were all just playing baseball again.
I suddenly understood a lot better why most of the teams stay for the whole series. If they had left right after the loss that took them out, that would be their last memory. Instead, they get to hang around, play some uncomplicated games, bask in the atmosphere, sign a few more autographs, watch their fellow players, and be with their teammates.
During the game, a dad and his two sons were sitting near us and heard us talking. When one of the sons figured out who we were, he asked us tentatively if we thought he could get a picture with Angus after the game. I said I would make it happen. "You don't think he'll mind?" the kid said. "I'm his mother" I said, "he's not allowed to mind." Matt rolled his eyes at me and I said "oh come on, we might as well use what tiny power we still have for good".
For the consolation games, they didn't get whisked away underground by bus any more - they had to walk up the hill.
I guess Matt bought into the whole parental power thing, because he got the whole team to pose with the kid and his brother. They seemed really happy.
They got mobbed for autographs every few steps.
This is Angus signing a kid's shirt.
This is Justin signing a kid's shirt and being MUCH MORE GRACIOUS about being photographed doing it.
We had been intending to visit the Museum all week but hadn't managed it, so we decided to go in before we left.
It was really cool.
They had artefacts from the last seventy-odd years of Little League play.
They showed the ways player safety had been improved.
Trading pins is a huge thing all the players do. Angus game home with a shoe box full.
They had Babe Ruth's uniform.
They had places you could test your base-running speed
and ability to jump for a pop fly.
This was the square where the players were welcomed. Their flag was raised when they arrived and taken down when they left.
Then one last wave at this dude, who, now that I think about it, is really kind of creepy.
We were sad. It felt like it had all gone by too fast, like we hadn't soaked it up enough, even though we had, like we should stay longer, even though Matt really needed to get back to work, like we were leaving part of our family behind, which we were. It was over but not over enough. It was still going on, but we weren't part of it any more. It was like the ending of all intense experiences - melancholy and bittersweet