When I was still playing T-ball, I dreamed of being strong enough and accurate enough to be able to hit like my Baseball heroes on TV. My grandfather had diabetes and was often sick, but he would always find the time to throw the ball around with me in the backyard. He bought me a black leather catcher's mitt for my seventh birthday. I wasn't into basketball or football, but there was something special about baseball. It was simple, clean, and had a sense of freedom and camaraderie about it that I didn't see in other sports. With my new mitt, I was so proud to go into our small backyard and practice throwing and then catching the ball, even if my grandfather couldn't throw far, it didn't matter-- I couldn't run or catch well either. I was never great at the sport, no matter how long I practiced or played. Too clumsy, too slow. But my grandfather always encouraged me, picked me up from the dirt and cleaned up my grass-stained pants when I fell. He'd make lemonade for us on the warm Arizona nights and we'd throw the ball around in the lamp light. When I was ten years old, he died. I placed the black catcher's mitt in my dresser drawer the day after we buried him, and on special days, I would take it outside and just throw the ball to myself, remembering him.