Watching Justin Paulsen play on #StrikeoutALS day

justin paulsen

A frat boy chews on sunflower seeds, spitting the shells on the concrete floor as he watches an Indiana State batter jog back to the dugout, head down, after grounding out to second.

I’m still thinking of Justin Paulsen.

I just heard his mother’s name. It’s #StrikeoutALS day at the ballpark. She died on Christmas, the PA announcer said.

The strange thing about social media is I knew he lost his mother. I knew her birthday was April 26. But what did I know?

Did people still send cards? Do they still talk about how she laughed?

His father approaches the mound. He fires the first pitch to his son, who crouches and catches the ball like a catcher. His father leaves the mound, and his son leaves home, and they wrap their arms around each other. They walk off the field, still patting each other on the back.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

Justin disappears into the dugout. His father disappears into the stands.

I lean back in a dusty green seat with tears in my eyes, and wonder what I could possibly say.

Tell me about your mom.

An Indiana State player in a powder blue jersey taps the bat against his instep. He swings, knocking the ball to the second baseman, who throws it to first.

“One!” Paulsen yells.

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