It was a beautiful day. Getting outside, spending time mentoring the kids of Neptune, there wasn't anything more rewarding. It's been three years now he and Logan volunteered at Camp Sportsball. The week long day camp not only boosted his self worth but it was one week out of the year Dick got to spend quality time with his best friend. He was grateful it has always worked out that Logan was stateside for the event. He and Logan never had this kind of mentorship growing up so it felt good to be there for these kids. Day one is basketball. Logan had asked Wallace to come and help out. At first Dick was disappointed his time with Logan was being shared but it actually turned out he got more one on one time with him. The morning was spent with Wallace coaching the kids on dribbling the ball and learning the flow of the game. While Dick and Logan were just there for extra help. Wallace had things to do that afternoon so after lunch it would be up to Dick and Logan to work on shooting hoops.
"Alright who's ready to shoot some hoops?" Logan asked the crowd. Arms flew up over their heads. Dick started tossing basketballs to them.
"Okay then, there are different types of shots." Dick began to explain, as he rattled off each type he demonstrated them. "Layup, tip in, jump shot, hook shot, bank shot, and slam dunk."
"Who's ready to try," Logan shouted and hands flew up again, "Good half of you at this hoop and the other half at that one. Dick and I will be here to give you tips."
Another day, another sport and Dick wasn't sure he was ready to mentor anyone today. It had been a rough night, so getting here early to smack some balls around the field felt good. He didn' t have many days like this anymore but when he did, they were the worst. He's not sure what would be easier, constant string of bad dreams every night or an occasional night terror. His therapist has been trying to help him figure out what triggers them but there hasn't been any correlation to anything in particular.
Needing something to drink, Dick walked over to the concession booth stealing water out of their fridge. He's startled when Logan slaps his hand on his shoulder. "Busted!"
"Woah dude, a little jumpy today." Logan said backhanding him across the Sportsball logo displayed on his chest.
"Yeah sorry, rough night." It was all Dick was willing to offer.
"Well the kids are going to be here soon, maybe we should round up those balls?"
"Nah, they're young, let's let them do it." Dick gave a half smile tossing the bat down on the home plate. He knew Logan wouldn't let it slide so he dug the baseball mitt from his bag.
Logan picked up the bat and started walking to the outfield. He reached the first ball, picked it up turning to face Dick. "You ready?" Dick put the mitt on his hand and waited for Logan to hit him the ball. It didn't take long before they had all the balls back in the feeder.
When the kids arrived they broke them up into two groups, those that would hit the balls and those that would catch them. An hour into practice they switched out positions.
The kids had a hard practice so as a reward they divided them up into teams to play a little game.
"Okay boys, you practiced hard now we play hard." Dick pulled a coin from his pocket. "Tanner call it, heads or tails?"
Having won the coin toss, Dick's team chose to let Logan's team have first at bat. Dick pitched through the first half with two outs and bases loaded; it was up to Logan to bring his three players home.
"It's going out of the park." Logan yelled out as he made a few practice swings.
Dick threw the pitch and Logan swung. He succeeded in bringing his players home, but now he relied on them to get him off of third base. The first half ended with Logan coming home but his reliever was taken out by the second baseman on Dick's team.
The next two innings played out just about the same. The kids were having a great time. It was Dick's team at bat in the last inning. The score was six to eight and Logan's team was in the lead, but there was still another half for Dick's team to make a comeback. Dick was up to bat, Logan pitched and the ball flew over the kids in the outfield.
"And it's out of the park!" Dick brags as he casually runs the bases. A home run, first one of the day! Dick danced his way to home plate, doing a backflip to seal the deal. It was a few more runs before Logan's team ended the game at a loss.
It was obvious there was something going on with Dick. The time and heart he put into the camp every year is one of the most astounding things Logan has ever witnessed. This year though he could see that something was off with him. He was present and in the moment when he was engaged with the kids but in those off moments Logan saw the sadness in him.
While they set up the volleyball net Logan decided to press the issue, "Hey man, what's going on?"
Dick's movements faltered and then he became more aggressive setting the stake, "Whadda mean?"
After setting the anchor, Dick stood up walking away from Logan. He picked up the volleyball and Logan ducked under the net to start a one on one match while they waited for the kids to arrive. The ball came over the net and Logan hit it, "You've been a bit off lately." he continued the conversation.
"Yeah, I haven't been sleeping." Dick volleyed the ball back over the net. "I've been rehashing some things." Logan sent the ball back over; Dick caught it and sat down criss cross with his knees up, arms rested on them. As Logan watched him twirl the ball he waited for Dick to elaborate. Dick looked up at him and nodded to the right of him so Logan ducked under the net and joined him in the sand.
"A friend of mine suggested that maybe I should try a new therapist. One that would try and help me work through stuff rather than keep me medicated."
Logan kept quiet, he was surprised Dick had found a friend other than himself he would confide his past to, but he was grateful to them for trying to help him.
"Being sober and rehashing high school, hasn't been fun." Dick added.
"Logan wrapped his arm around Dick's shoulders, "You know I'm here for you, man."
Dick nodded, "Yeah."
The sun was coming up while Dick slipped his arms into his wetsuit as he watched the waves roll in. He tried to explain to his therapist how cathartic it was to be out here but he was from Kansas and it just didn't resonate. Dick picked up his board and walked into the ocean. As he paddled out he thought about how good it felt to talk to Logan yesterday. He didn't feel he could be completely honest though. He didn't understand this new found friendship himself, let alone try to explain it to anyone else. He was just grateful for it. To have someone not only listen to him but actually care. If he wanted to be honest with himself, it wasn't like he ever gave anyone the chance. He knows the friends he had in high school were only around for a good time. At this point in his life he realized there were only three people he wanted to always keep close, but he couldn't work on those relationships without continuing to work on himself.
Barefoot in the hot sand that cools as your feet sink into it. At the water's edge it's firm yet you still leave your mark as you go. It's good to feel the breeze coming off the ocean. It took a long time for Logan to find peace. He wanted that for Dick; he seemed lighter, as if his confession from yesterday was a weight off his shoulders.
It was a beautiful day at the beach so they had decided to toss the football around, playing catch. The kids didn't seem that interested in playing an actual flag football game anyway, but they did seem to like the idea of romping around on the beach. There were a few footballs to toss around so they broke off into small groups. Logan stood back taking in the scenery. It still amazes him how good Dick is with these kids.
"Yo, Logan!" He turned his head to see Dick holding a football between his hands, "Go deep!" He hollered to him. Logan chuckled but took off running, glancing over his shoulder, anticipation for Dick to throw the ball.
The ball landed in his arms and as he scanned the beach, seeing a few boys enjoying themselves, he noticed Tanner just standing around watching everyone. "Tanner, it's coming your way." Logan shouted, getting his attention.
Tanner looked up and watched for the ball, he needed to run forward a little, but ended up diving into the sand to make the catch.
"NIce one Tanner!" Dick cheered.
It's the last day of Camp Sportsball. The only game they really didn't actually play was football. Logan and Dick divided the kids into two groups and gave them a run down of how the game is played. During the designated halftime drink break Logan jogged over to get his water bottle when he heard Dick's phone chime. When he glanced down he couldn't help the smile on his face. Logan glanced back at Dick then picked up the phone sending a quick text in response. 'Meet me here at the beach 2?'
Logan knew he was messing with fire but he wanted to prove to Dick he would be supportive. He tossed the phone back down on the bag but then it chimed again. 'You sure?' He was and Dick would be once Logan showed him it's cool. He picked the phone back up and sent one more text. 'I'll c u 2'. He dropped the phone and grabbed his water bottle jogging back to the game.
As it got closer to being two o'clock Logan found himself watching the parking lot. The game had fizzled out and now the kids were scattered across the beach participating in random activities and Dick was enjoying their company. Logan had positioned himself so he could see what or rather who was about to come. It wasn't much longer when he saw the familiar convertible pull into the lot. He looked to Dick to see if he noticed her arrival but he was tossing the football with Tanner. Logan glanced back towards the lot as she slipped off her shoes, tossed them in her car and walked towards Dick. When she was close enough to him, Logan stood up and made his way towards them. Mac greeted Dick with a warm hug and saw the exact moment Dick realized Logan knew.
Logan shook Dick's hand and gave Mac a brief hug. "Hey Mac, how's it going?"
"It's going. How was camp today?" Mac asked squeezing her hands into her back pockets as she rocked on the heels of her feet.
"It was good. The entire week has been good." Logan glanced to Dick before looking back at Mac. "Hey, uh thanks for looking after this guy. It's good to know I'm not going at it alone." He then looked back to Dick, performing their signature handshake. As Dick pulled away he chuckled, "Well played man."
"See ya." Then Logan walked up the beach towards the parking lot.