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Youth Sports and The Magic in Performance

| April 22nd, 2019

Working Title for a Children’s Baseball Book: ‘Ole Sharky: There IS Magic in Baseball

By Tom Wilder Craig, Jack Wilder Craig and Dr. K.C. Wilder

Illustrations are currently being done. We will keep you posted here with updates!

I won’t lie. I’ve never really believed in magic. But the truth is, baseball showed me that it does exist.

My story begins when my brother, Jack, and I were on vacation at my grandparents’ home in Cape Cod.

It was a Saturday. Jack and I visited their neighbor’s barn, which is more than 150 years old!

Jack was looking through a pile of sports equipment when he spotted a baseball glove. Right away we saw that it was super old.

Jack asked our neighbor, Joe “Slugger” McSweeney, “How old is this thing?”

“That was my father’s glove,” Slugger told us. “There should actually be a nickname imprinted on the inside. Why don’t ya take a look?”

I was excited to find the nickname inside the glove. It read, “The Shark.”

Slugger read it out loud, “They called it ‘The Shawk’ because my dad and his glove were always ready to attack the ball.”

I chuckled when I heard Slugger’s strong Boston accent.

He continued, “No one has used that glove since my dad played with it in the Cape Cod League Championship game in 1972.”

“I have my Little League Championship game tomorrow,” Tom said, “Can I maybe borrow The Shark?”

Slugger said, “Absolutely! The ole Shawk would love to play again.” Just then, we heard our mom calling, “Boys, it’s lunch time; come on home.”

“Be careful with him, boys. Don’t let him get wet! I repeat, do NOT let The Shawk get wet!” Slugger said.

We picked up The Shark, quickly said “thanks,” and ran home. We were too excited to eat, and spent the entire time telling our mom all about the glove’s nickname and the Cape Cod Baseball League.

After lunch, we brought the glove out for some catching practice. The Shark was really stiff, which made it difficult to play. When we asked our dad how we could soften the glove, he told us to get the special glove oil from his toolbox.

We just finished rubbing on a bit of oil when our yellow lab, Nicky, showed up. Nicky’s an awesome dog that loves to swim in the ocean when we visit our grandparents at the beach.

Jack tried to shield the glove, but it was too late. Nicky was too excited and pounced around us, shaking off all the extra water from his thick coat.

The Shark was wet!

We were frantic. We dried the glove with towels, and even used our mom’s blow dryer!

The glove was still a little wet when we went to bed that night so Jack decided to keep it under his pillow.

Luckily, the glove dried overnight and was not stiff like before, so I decided I would use it in the outfield for our Cotuit Kettleers Little League Championship game.

It was a tight game. At the top of the ninth inning, we were ahead 2-1. The bases were loaded and the Falmouth Commodores’ best hitter was at bat.

Full count, and when the pitch came over the plate, the hitter nailed it! It looked like it was going clear over the fence for a game-winning GRAND SLAM.

I leapt five feet in the air and caught the ball for the game-winning out!

We won our Little League Championships! Everyone lifted me to their shoulders and carried me off the field in celebration.

Jack said, “Tom, that was incredible! How did you do it?”

I looked at Jack and winked, “Ole Sharky and I attacked the ball.”

That night, we couldn’t wait to tell Slugger about the game. He couldn’t believe the glove was still as magical as it was decades before.

That’s how I learned that there really is magic in baseball.

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