I have received other trophies before. Still, this one felt different. The others had been given to all participants. I had certainly done little to contribute to victories on my little league team. Losses were another story. It felt really good to receive this one, after coming in 2nd in my age group and 14th overall.
After the race, which was held just a few miles from where I grew up, I went over to my mom’s house to pick up some things that had belonged to mom and were now mine. As I loaded the boxes into my car, the light and playful mood I had been in earlier changed to a more somber one. I reflected upon how transient life was. I found myself thinking about how my mom’s entire life seemed to fit into a bunch of boxes and wondered if that is what it is all about. How much to we really achieve in our lives if everything we produce can fit into the back of a truck?
I returned home and showed my family my trophy. My wife told me I looked like a little kid as I grinned from ear to ear. My kids seemed to think it was kind of cool. As I came upon my old little league trophy, appropriately enough with the bat broken out of the hitter’s hands, our four year old son asked if he could keep it. I handed it over and started to think.
The trophy I had brought home couldn’t have cost more than a few dollars, at most, to produce. Still, in my eyes, it was worth more. It symbolized all the effort I had put into training, all the times where I had competed in sports and failed to produce. The same is true of my mom’s possessions. They might not objectively be worth very much in terms of dollars and cents, but in terms of meaning, it is worth a small fortune. Like a trophy, these pictures, knickknacks and odds and ends will continue to make me smile and think of special moments.