*THWACK* The crack of the wiffle ball off Carter’s bat echoes around the basement as he clobbers Spencer’s curving pitch. Unfazed by the deafening sound, I track the ball off the wall and into the back corner of the room. As Landon eases his way home, Carter rounds first, his ten years of being beaten up by his two older brothers molding him into the athlete he has become. I snatch the ball up and throw it at Carter as he dives for second, praying he makes it in time before *SMACK*, the wiffle ball hits his leg just before he reaches the bag.
The soft flow of the stream is music to our ears as we putter down the hill, twigs snapping under our feet, heading to our favorite summer abode. The stream invites the four of us as the summer heat bears down after a long day of various “brother club” activities, some of the last ones we will have while all under the same roof.
Purring like a cat falling asleep, our car trundled along the backroads that lead home from McDonogh after another track workout. Spencer had helped me through it, as usual, being the good older brother. When he’s gone, I don’t know how I will get through this without him, but I know I will want to emulate him as a runner and a brother. All the hours of conversations over the past two years have given back the bond which had been lost for a few years. The car was where we were the closest, because while we lived in the same house and went to the same school, we never were able to get alone time other than those 30 minute car rides to and from school.
There was a moment of dead silence before laughter streamed out of Spencer as he pointed at a massive red wiffle ball pattern branded into Carter’s leg. We all cracked up, and Carter popped back up, completely forgetting the stinging pain as he joined in the laughter.
The splash marks the beginning of another adventure down the stream. Echoes of Landon Landon enthusiastically jumping past the clay mine, under the fallen tree, and around the horseshoe bend ring throughout the otherwise still forest. We venture deeper into the unknown, one by one, leaving all our cares and worries behind.
In just 12 hours, our brother club will lose its cornerstone. All of us in denial, we head downstairs for one last baseball game, Bigs vs Littles, as usual. An amazing summer of streams and adventures behind us, we move into the next chapter of the brother club’s story.