Our older son’s baseball team lost their second game of the season today.
First off, I loathe scheduling games on Memorial Day. If I was a Gold Star Family, I’d be on fire to get it changed. But, thankfully, we’re not. My soldier is out of the Army and happened to work at the Fire Department all day today. So, I hung out with the boys until we needed to leave for the ball fields.
Today was hot. Not surprisingly, not all of our team showed up, so we played only nine. (Or as my husband would say, “the way baseball was meant to be played. Whatever.) We played an out of league team, so we came into the game blind. It’s a holiday weekend so no doubt kids had sleepovers, lots of swimming, late nights, and came into today kind of tired. In addition, my kid was battling either severe pollen allergies or the beginnings of a cold.
Either way, we started the game like the Bad News Bears. In two innings, we found ourselves down 8-0.
In the Minors of Little League, they play six innings. So starting that behind in two innings is kind of a big deal. An unfortunate, big deal.
The other team didn’t score another run after those initial eight, and our boys woke both their bats and their gloves up. One of our hard hitters got an in the park home run, and we worked hard to fight out way out of a huge deficit.
At one point, I went to check on him and ask if he needed more cough drops. He said he was fine. As I left the dugout, the coach’s mom stopped me to talk.
“You know what I love about him? He’s really hard on himself, but he’s so encouraging of other players.”
Last year, my eldest boy found himself on a team with a not-too-great-coach who didn’t do anything to stop teammates from talking negatively to one another. My son was made the scapegoat for a number of losses, despite baseball being a team sport and STFU, kids. This year, not only did something click in his brain about how to get the bat on the ball, but his base running is phenomenal and, well, the coaches and kids are all amazing.
It’s really a great year of baseball.
It’s really great to watch him get walked and then advance to third and steal home.
I wish I would have kept taking pictures at this point. Here’s why: BigBrother stood up, dusted himself off, picked up the catcher’s mask, handed it to the catcher, and said, “Nice play.” It had been close, but he was safe.
The coaches wife was walking behind the backstop just then. “See! That’s why I love this kid! Did everyone see that?!”
And my sweaty heart grew three sizes that day.
He was bummed after the game. They’ve only lost one other game, and losing is no fun whether you’re on a great team filled with great teammates and coaches or not. Losing sucks. He gave me the silent treatment on the way back to the car, and I let him. I know that losing sucks. I’ve been there, done that for eleven years of softball. I hated losing.
As we neared home, he started to talk. And he talked about how hard they fought to get back to an 8-7 score. He pointed out all the things the other players did to get back to that point. He named them by name, by play, and by who backed who up.
He gets it. He knows that baseball is a team sport. He knows the importance of recognizing the good in one another to get the outcome you want. Sometimes you don’t win. But when you play like a team, it makes it just a little bit easier.
We lost today, but my goodness, I love the way my kid plays ball. With his heart.