I get it. Jon hasn’t played ball every year since he was 4. He hasn’t tried to be on an All Star team or spent his summers on select traveling teams. He’s only played 2 years of Youth League ball, the second year he was benched for most games, maybe playing one inning.
I asked him that year, if he wanted to quit. It would be the first time I’d give permission. Sitting for hours in a hot dugout, watching your friends play ball. Driving to games, to watch from the side lines. My heart would get torn apart, after amazing practices – to not be able to play.
This year it would be different. He really wanted to play ball again – and I wasn’t sure I had the stomach for it. We only had one coach with about 20 kids. We were told that meant there would be tryouts – and only the best would survive. Yeah – no sense trying that round. Ha. But then another dad stepped up, and they needed enough for two teams. We said yes. Sign Up Fees, Gear – Glove, Pants, Shoes, etc. We were lucky and were given an amazing pair of cleats – whew. Ready.
I liked Jon’s face in this one – not sure if it was a strike, but I think it was. This kid. We’ll have a crazy game and I’ll be quietly waiting to hear his side of it – and he’ll be bouncy and bubbly – ‘That was the Best Game Ever!’ Okay.
So that’s been my goal this year. Emotional detach. Don’t be upset if he isn’t upset. Be strong if he is upset. Encourage. Equip. Volunteer. Cheer.
He’s just glad to be on the team. He wants to hang out with his friends. He wants to make new friends. He just wants to play ball.
These photos were taken by a friend of mine – they are not my shots. They were taken in the last inning of the game, when we were up 19-4? They finally let Jon and his friend T play. Then, they let him try 3rd base. He’s fantastic at third in practice. He’s been fantastic at third all three years he’s played – and this is the first time they’ve let him try it in a game. It was three up- three down – but he was ready.
It was an emotional evening last night. I have a mama bear’s heart. We try to think of the other competitors at an event. The fact that everyone has practiced, purchased gear, given up evening events, withdrawn from other events, invited family, brought the camera, and are ready to sit down to watch a great game. I’ve been known to give a good loud wahoo shout out.
Last night took me to the edge. I think our coaches forgot that it is supposed to be fun. We’ve practiced hard. We’re ready. We knew going into the game that, that chances were, skill wise, and the size and ages of the kids, we were not an equally matched team. Ours had a wide advantage. Not sure what happened, but greed for points took over. Lots of screaming. Lots of critique to the boys while they were on the field. Scowls. Over the top disappointment yelled if they missed a run, or allowed the other team to get a run, or made an error – or even almost made an error, but still go the play. I’ve never been more embarrassed at a game in my life.
A look to the other team – to the rows of family and friends – showed their shock and disappointment at the behavior. Several times the entire crowd shifted backwards as if slapped in the face. There is a point in a game, when you are ahead by 15 points – and you know the skill levels – that there really isn’t a way to win – it’s just time to play. There isn’t a strong chance of loosing – it’s just time to play. The goal line of winning or loosing has been crossed – and you have to remember to take a breath and have fun. Maybe even be able to help the other team work their field players a little and learn. Maybe.
There were a couple of things that happened last night that made my blood boil, had me walking away, had tears streaming down my face, as I talked myself down. Emotionally Detach. Emotionally Detach!!
And – like after every game – we get in the car and I’m chatting with Jon and I let him get all his comments out –
And he is full of joy. He mentioned a one of the incidents and thought his coach was funny. In one game, his friend was benched all but one inning, and it made him super sad, he gets it, if he is playing T is not. He’d rather just trade off every inning. It reminds me not to take it personal. Not to read into the situation.
A friend asked me if I’d blog about last night. I told her I was writing it throughout the game. Ha. I’m not going to print the blog I wrote yesterday in my mind . . . I was pretty distraught.
I do write this to encourage the other mama bears out there while their kids play sports. It’s about Jon, it’s not about me. Sometimes I wish we had more of a crazy edgy competitive spirit. It would help Jon in wrestling. It would even help during stiff competitions in surfing to get the drop first. But.
I wouldn’t trade his smile for anything. I’d rather be on the bench 5 innings, than have a selfish win or die attitude. I enjoy the comments from surfers about his attitude out in the water. I love talking to the other moms at wrestling tournaments at how their sons like being matched with Jon – as he gives them time to practice their moves before he pins them. I like it that his team members want him to be there.
I’m not sure my heart can take high school sports. We’ll see next year. I might have to back away from being in the Mom Squad – or just hide in the snack shack selling hot cocoa and let the game play on. . . .