A ball and a glove

We played “ketch” when we were little, not “catch.”
“Good ketch!” we’d yell on the sandlot or the Little League field.
The guy behind the plate was the “ketcher.”
I cannot recall exactly when I started pronouncing the word correctly, but somewhere along the line I did. I do remember feeling a little awkward at first. “Want to play catch?” I’d ask a buddy, hoping he wouldn’t burst out laughing.
Eventually, however, we all came around. Except my dad. It remained “ketch” to him.
But no matter how we pronounced it, throwing a ball back and forth was and has remained one of the great pleasures of my life. Such a simple thing. And yet so perfect.
One of my best friends moved to Colorado last summer to be closer to his grandson. He was my tennis partner for more than 40 years. Yes, I miss playing tennis with him. But I might miss playing catch even more.
Not that we got out the gloves and a ball that often, typically once or twice a summer. We played tennis every single day. But those catches were special. The pop of the ball in our gloves sounded just as good as it did 50 years earlier.
Winston Churchill said when he got to heaven he intended to spend a good deal of his first million years painting. I think I’ll spend mind playing catch. Or “ketch” when it’s with my dad.

Ed Ackerman