Every kid in this country – rich, poor, white, black, golden, short, tall, coordinated, not-coordinated, with/without glasses or braces, with/without a dad or a mom, sub- or super- IQ’d, walking or wheelchair-bound – every kid goes to a home plate somewhere at some point in his/her life and gets the opportunity to live the dream of whacking a home run or just getting to first base – and then hearing the cheers and applause of teammates, friends, and spectators. Everybody gets a chance to play this game somewhere.
Haglund was the back-up catcher when his brother and his brother’s friends played baseball in the field next to the house. When the primary catcher missed the ball and the ball rolled into the street, Haglund would run out into the traffic to retrieve it, curl his fingers across the seams and pitch his fastball back to the catcher. Even though he was never actually on either team, but served as back-up catcher for both, Haglund always got a chance to stand at the plate and swing. He always made contact with the ball, always got at least to first base, and always heard the cheers and applause of his brother and his brother’s friends.
Today Haglund spends a good sum of money on baseball tickets and paraphernalia, and like much of the country, obsessively and compulsively watches his team on TV. Every time Derek Jeter takes his stance in the batter’s box, Haglund’s arms and wrists tighten as if getting ready for the pitch. When #2 slides into second base, Haglund feels the burn along his leg – he’s living baseball now because he lived it as a kid.
Every kid deserves a chance to dance in The Nutcracker. It’s in the best interests of the art form to let every kid stand at the plate and swing at least once.