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First Game

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Mike didn’t think he was going to be the type of parent that was bringing a mountain of snacks and juice boxes to his kids first baseball game. He thought he was going to be coaching his son, or daughter’s team. However, when he started dating Ginny, he knew that he wanted their future kids to have a strong female role model to look up to, and if that meant he was on snack duty while Ginny coached and made sure their son, had his gear all packed up then so be it.

It was an adorable sight on any afternoon really, Ginny teaching Tony how to hold the ball in his glove so he could deliver a solid pitch, while Mike knelt across from the two in the backyard, his well worn catchers mitt held up for the waiting pitch from their six year-old.

Tony was always so enamored with the fact that his parents were former baseball players, and he wanted to follow in their footsteps, but Ginny and Mike, especially Ginny made sure to promise him that they would never push him to do anything he didn’t want to do.  Ginny was scared to have kids at first, worried she would be like her father with a one-track mind, and she never wanted to push baseball on her child.  She made a vow to herself that no matter what, she would support her son in whatever he wanted to do.  He still chose baseball though, and she couldn’t exactly blame him, growing up at Petco Park with the Padres as his extended family.

Sighing as she made her way down the stairs on the third Saturday morning in March, Ginny paused in the doorway to the kitchen, smiling at the sight of Mike at the counter making scrambled eggs and avocado toast.

“Seven years of marriage and I still love the sight of domestic Mike Lawson.  What would the little league moms think if they knew you also cooked breakfast?  And did the laundry?” Ginny laughed from the doorway as she fully entered the kitchen in her game-day attire of leggings, sneakers, and a simple navy polo, her curls slicked back in their usual ponytail.

Mike blushed at the compliment before he turned to look at Ginny, a dopey smile appearing on his lips as he took in the sight of his wife.  Even though he saw her every single day, Mike was still enamored by how beautiful Ginny was, from her curls, to the curves of her body, to how her skin always seemed to glow in just the right way whenever the sun touched her.  He was just as in love with her as he was the day they met.

“Well, they’d probably think of a way to get us to divorce, though I think they’d have better luck getting Livan to give up dancing,” Mike teased with a grin as he walked across the kitchen to press a soft kiss to Ginny’s lips.  “Good morning beautiful.  Is our little rookie awake?”

“Yup, up and packing his equipment.  He insisted on doing it himself today, but I suggest you double check it before we leave,” Ginny grinned as she returned the kiss with a hum of content before reaching over to grab a piece of avocado toast.  “Breakfast smells amazing.”

“I figured we could start up this tradition of game day breakfasts again,” Mike admitted with a blush, as he poured three glasses of orange juice before handing Ginny a mug of coffee.

“Absolutely.  I can definitely get back on board with your scrambled eggs.  Thank you.”

Bringing the mug up to her lips, Ginny inhaled the slightly bitter scent of the coffee with a happy sigh before taking a large gulp of the liquid, turning when their son entered the kitchen.

“Are you being gross and lovey again?” Tony asked with a wrinkle of his nose as he climbed into his seat at the table before he dug into his scrambled eggs excitedly.

“Yup, your daddy was just telling me how excited he is to cheer you on in your game today,” Ginny grinned as she pressed a kiss to their son’s forehead.

“Really?!  I thought you were still sad they picked mom to coach and not you.”

Ginny snorted into her coffee at Tony’s words and flashed a grin towards Mike.  “Yeah, I thought you were sad too.”

Rolling his eyes good-naturedly, Mike sat down across from their son before he took a bite of his own breakfast.  “As much as I loved playing baseball and now being the manager of the Padres, I’d much rather let your mom take the reigns on this one.  I prefer being the snack packer, much less stress from the moms about playing time,” he joked with a grin.

“Now, eat up so we can head to the ballpark.

Ginny grinned as Mike pulled into the little league field parking lot and looked lovingly at Mike as they got out of the car, Tony immediately waving excitedly to one of his teammates.

“I don’t know about you, but being back at one of these fields always reminds me of why I fell in love with the game, back when there was no pressure to be a pro, and we were just kids goofing off and playing a game,” she sighed at the memory before freezing in panic.

“I don’t want to be like my dad when it comes to baseball.  What if I’m a pushy coach?  What if I show favoritism?  They should have made you coach, you’re so much better at it,”she said to Mike nervously.

All of a sudden it was like she was back at Petco Park in 2016, on the pitchers mound of her first game, letting the nerves take over her brain.  But just like her second start, Mike was there by her side to give her one of his world famous speeches.

“Rookie.  For once, stop thinking like a ballplayer and think like a kid.  These are little kids all under the age of ten.  They don’t have the dream of a World Series in front of them, they just want to have fun.  Treat all these kids the same, be guiding, but don’t get too frustrated.  You’re gonna do great babe.  If they wanted me to coach, they would have asked, but they want you.  So, I’m going to go sit with all the other parents and you’re gonna go show our son and his friends why they should love this game too.”

Mike pressed a kiss to Ginny’s forehead before he gave her a thumbs up and moved to sit on the bottom step of the bleachers with some of the other parents, setting down the cooler of snacks and water.

“It’s nice to see Ginny back on the field,” Evelyn grinned as she gave Mike a hug before sitting down with Blip and the twins as they watched their daughter take the field alongside Tony.

“Yeah.  I always knew that baseball was her first love and that she would never fully be able to give it up.  I’m just glad to see her sharing that love with our son.”

“Last time I checked, the game was your first love too,” Blip smirked as he looked between Mike and Ginny, the dopey smile on his former Captain’s face saying it all.

“Yeah, it once was.  Before Gin took that place in my heart.  Now I can’t imagine a day of my life without her, or Tony.”

“You’ve been in love with her since the day you met her.  You just didn’t know it,” Blip nudged his shoulder with a grin before they stood for the National Anthem.

Once the National Anthem was over, Ginny crouched down to talk to her team members.

“Okay kiddos, you’ve been practicing so well.  You all know exactly what to do, but come talk to me if you’ve got any questions.  Just remember, I’m so proud of all of you, and remember, it’s just a game.  There’s no pressure to be perfect here.  Baseball is about having fun.  A wise catcher once told me that you do this for you, you do this for your team, or you don’t do it at all.  Don’t play if it’s something you don’t want to do.  I want you all to want be here, not because your parents are forcing you to do this.  So we’re gonna go out and have fun today got it?!”

After the chorus of yeah’s from the kids, they all grabbed their gloves to take the field.

Tony quickly doubled back to give his mom a hug.

“Thank you for coaching mom.  Great speech.  Dad looks super proud of you, and so am I,” he grinned, giving Ginny a tight hug before he raced off to the pitcher’s mound.

Ginny grinned as she hugged her son back before focusing on the game, confident that she’d made the right choice.