There wasn't a lot of conversation between them. Each knew that the young man standing beside them might be the one chosen in their place. Instead, they watched as each were asked to hit, then pitch, then field and throw.
I was particularly nervous because my son was one of them. When he was chosen to go second, I was both nervous and excited. What does it mean to be one of the first? Will they forget about his effort, or will he make such an impression that the others will feel the heat to do better? Either way, my stomach was flipping when they called his name.
As my son stepped into the cage, he looked amazingly calm. He seemed to remember all the tips I gave him. Elbow up, bend your knees, relax.
When the first pitch was fired at him, I thought to myself, that's a lot faster than he's used to. But he swung and connected and I thought man, he's even better than I thought.
After the last pitch, and another rip, they asked him to leave, somebody said, good job, and I started clapping for him and waved, hoping he'd see me.
As he looked up with that little grin, I noticed a redness on his face that I wasn't sure came from physical strain, or embarrassment of his old man.
From there, he went to the pitchers' cage. I was curious why they wanted him to throw from a mound, because he's never been a pitcher. But when it came his turn, he popped the catcher's mitt time and again, and I thought, maybe he is a pitcher.
Again as he walked away, I couldn't help but be amazed at the way he was handling this. I remember asking myself how did he grow up so fast. I remembered the time he belted his first wiffle ball off a tee, when he was barely able to walk. Now he seemed so tall.
As he readied himself for the last test, I said a little prayer for him. He's done so well so far, and despite his composure, he must be going crazy inside. Then he fielded the first grounder and whipped the ball back to the coach. Then the second, then the third.
He glided to the right to catch the first flyball, then to the left, then back. No problems. Relief was soon replaced by elation. He did it.
I gave him a big hug and told him I was so proud. He smirked and asked if I would buy him a Coke. We laughed, and I could see he was pleased with his effort, and glad I was there.
I suggested a hot chocolate instead. After all, we're not in Florida. This is winter in Pennsylvania.
We left the complex and headed to McDonald's. Like other parents and their 10-12 year-olds, we'll be waiting by the phone to hear which Little League majors team drafted my son.
I guess there's other baseball news going on this week, but it seems to pale in comparison.