Let the good times roll!
The mound has been covered for days. It’s been raining all week and the practices haven’t been cancelled. It rained the first week of baseball as well, but the coaches were more inclined to cancel when the weather wasn’t warm (maybe because the kids weren’t used to it yet…?).
Some parents are bitching about the weather or the lack of play their kid is getting. Other parents are late to every practice and game. And everyone has an opinion on what everyone else is doing. I knew this was going to happen, but I still refuse to be part of it.
Instead, I’m focusing on something more important. I see a kid who found his true love in life at the age of nine. I see a kid who has practiced in the wind and rain and felt as though it was the “best practice ever!” I’ve seen a kid win games and shine or lose games and shake it off quickly. I see a kid who has fallen in love with the game of baseball like he’s never fallen before.
I’m so proud of my son. He hasn’t missed a practice or a game and he has cried – literally cried! – when there were two cancellations due to rain or scheduling conflicts. He’s told me he’s learned so much in only a few short weeks and I believe him. I believe him because I can see the changes in him on a weekly basis. For example, the other night, we got home and my son was literally jumping up and down when he explained that he finally knows how to pitch a ball properly. That’s all it took – for the coaches to show him how to hold a ball and pitch. His happiness seems so simple. And that makes me happy.
At the last practice, he stood on the mound for pitching practice and I noticed a strange look on his face, one of disappointment and sadness because he wasn’t pitching to the best of his ability. The coach walked over to my son, had a few words, tapped him encouragingly on the brim of his hat, and then walked back to the catchers position. It was like a lightbulb went on and suddenly my kid was throwing strikes. Strike after strike after strike, this kid was nailing it! I swelled with pride. I said a silent prayer of thanks to the coach.
And then it was off to the batting cages. Without much prompting, my kid nailed it again. Hit after hit, his new bat seemed to work perfectly well. He seems to have found his natural talent and he’s taking full advantage of it. At one point, as we sat having dinner one night, he mentioned that instead of hockey, he’d prefer to find a winter baseball league. In our small community, winter consists of hockey and curling…that’s it. He was seriously disappointed when realized he couldn’t play baseball all year long.
I remember the feeling of finding the thing you’re meant to do. I was 11 years old. My son found his at age 9. I remember the swelling in my chest as my heart beat a little faster with my successes. And I remember the bitter disappointment and the ambition to get better with my failures. It was like I knew what I was meant to do. And I see the same thing in my son. The realization and recognition is written all over his face.
Maybe some day he’ll play in the MLB like he wants to or maybe he won’t. It doesn’t matter to me. But I know we have a lot of years of baseball ahead. As long as he’s happy, I’m here to support and encourage him through the sunshine and the rain.