My backyard

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Two parts baseball diamond, one part treehouse, a little picnic, and a slice of stickball. Add to the list a lot of yard work, and much of my portrait is complete. While many people build memories with their families and friends, learning life’s lessons around the kitchen table or in the family room playing games, I grew up in my backyard. My father taught me how to hold a baseball bat and catch a ball before I could talk. Together, we transformed a corner of our backyard into a baseball diamond complete with bases and batter's box cutouts. Our “field” remains the place where neighborhood kids, young and old, gather to play. I share my love of the game with a motley crew of players of all ages. The variety of age and skill levels requires us to adapt the rules and speed of the game so no matter the age or skill, all can participate. Although the games can get intense, we are careful to prioritize everyone’s enjoyment over competition.

Sometimes we put away the bats and gloves and go old school. My uncle taught us how to play stickball with an old broom handle and a tennis ball. Less organized than other sports, we make up the rules with each game, or change them as we go. Our Labor Day weekend stickball tournament has become a...

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