About five years ago, we had new neighbors move into the house beside us on Hospital Street. The family I am speaking of is the Williamson family. Sean and Denelle are the parents, and they have four wonderful children. The Williamsons have three beautiful daughters that look as if they just finished a photo shoot for Glamour Magazine. They are Sarah, Kaitlynne and Peyton. Their ages are 19, 16 and 15 respectively. As wonderful as the Williamson girls are, today’s column is not about them. It is about their brother, the youngest child of the Williamson clan. I am talking about the one and only Andrew Williamson. Andrew is a nine-year-old third grader at Trigg County Elementary School.
It wasn’t long after young Andrew moved in until he figured out that he had a coach living next door that really liked all kinds of ball. The next thing you know, Andrew began walking across the yard with an updated version of that oft-asked 1960s question. Andrew’s version is, “Miss Penny (my wife), can Coach Wright come out and play ball?” Well, I can tell you that if I am home, the answer is usually yes. Although my schedule is usually jam-packed with stuff to do, I always try and take a few minutes to work in a game of catch or something with my buddy Andrew. We have taken turns pitching to each other. One of us will be the pitcher while the other squats and catches. We will take turns striking out mythical batters until we strike out the side. Andrew is very hard on me when he is the catcher as he calls very few of my pitches strikes. I have also hit him countless fly balls in the grassy area between our houses. You wouldn’t believe the catches the kid makes. Andrew specializes in diving catches. I have seen him make SportsCenter-worthy catches right there off of Hospital Street.
In addition to baseball, Andrew and I have thrown football, shot basketball, kicked a soccer ball and practiced our golf swings. We even went and played an actually round of golf at Eastland Green Golf Course in Clarksville while accompanied by Andrew’s dad, Sean.
Even though Andrew is a modern child who has the computer games and technological gadgets of today at his disposal, he is a throwback in so many ways. When it comes down to it, he had rather be getting grass stains on his pants playing ball outdoors any old day comparing to being inside.
Andrew has already played ABA basketball and Little League baseball over the span of his budding sports career. He once hit for the cycle in a baseball game. Andrew’s favorite teams are the Yankees in baseball, the Lakers in basketball and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. His favorite college teams are Murray State and the University of Kentucky. When Andrew grows up, he wants to play shortstop for the New York Yankees. He plans on wearing the number 1 since he figures Derek Jeter’s number 2 will be retired by then.
There are a couple of other interesting facts about my buddy Andrew. One is that he is my dog Swish’s best friend. I think Swish would bite a plug out of you if you messed with Andrew. The second fact is that Andrew is practically addicted to my wife’s Oreo Ice Cream desert. Just for the record, she has never turned him down when he has requested it.
I guess the bottom line is this. Andrew is more than just a neighbor. He is my buddy, and a great one at that. I hope he never stops knocking on my door asking if I can come out and play. He has the knack of making me feel forever young if only for a few magical moments. Those late afternoons of pitch and catch transport me back to a simpler time to when life moved at a much slower pace and the worries were few. So if you happen to drive down Hospital Street and see a man in his early 50s with a white goatee playing baseball with an athletic young lad, look real closely and you will probably notice both of them similing. As a matter of fact, the old guy may be smiling the biggest.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.