Discussion

Practice Swings

Updated: June 24, 2008, 10:31 AM ET
By Eric Neel
Hey, Dad.

Your granddaughter and I play T-ball these days at a local rec center, a patch of trampled grass and dirt just north of where the 134 cuts from Pasadena to L.A.'s west side. Tess wears number 12 and meticulously pulls the front of her red jersey down over the top of her pants so you can read ANGELS across the front. She has rituals. She runs out to play second base and draws a broad circle in the dirt with her right toe and then steps into the circle, crouches down, reaches her glove toward the ground and looks up at the hitter. In the batter's box, she licks her upper lip, taps the plate twice, takes two deliberate practice swings, then pulls the bat up and back until her chin and nose are tucked behind her left shoulder, like she's got a secret, like she's The Shadow peering from behind his cape.

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