Saturday, July 23, 2011

I hated baseball, until I didn't

I have never been shy to admit that I am not sporty. I didn't play any competitive sports as a kid, and was afraid--ok, I am STILL-- afraid of balls flying at me.

Naturally, opposites attract and all- I married a man who was very sporty. And gave birth to two boys who want to be just like Dad. Sporty.

I was pretty fortunate to avoid going to every single baseball game over the past nine years because Brian was Luke's coach. My attendance was not mandatory; I could breeze in and fly out when I got bored. Which shouldn't surprise you didn't take long. Even when we had winning seasons, I didn't attend many full games. I just didn't care to watch baseball.

I knew I had it good, didn't have to subject myself to the elements- I was quite the fair weather baseball parent.

Until this year. Brian changed jobs and could no longer coach Luke's team. He also couldn't make it to all of Luke and Noah's games.Noah was playing rookie ball, and Luke was on a 12U team. Brian became the fair weather ball parent. I became the parent who sits on the sidelines covered in dust, hoodies and a blanket in early spring, and dust. sweat and sunblock in the summer.

Noah and his Bumble Bees.

Luke and Brian...first year without Dad as his coach, but Dad had the gear!

I whined about every single game I had to attend.  I cheered my sons, but texted complainey messages to my friends between action. I whined about the weather. I complained about the bleachers. I carried on about how amazingly bored I was.

Finally, after almost five months of baseball (times two teams...that's a lot of texting) Noah finished his season and Luke was headed to the season ending tournament. My obligation to baseball was ending for the year.

No more sideline bug bites.

No more wind/sun/anger at annoying parents burn.

No more of  the toddler in the stroller at every game with the Justin Beiber doll. That sang! Over and over and over....she obviously loved that doll. I wanted the boys to use it for batting practice.

The tournament was at a town a full half hour away. This, of course, was fodder for more complaining. And our team, normally nine boys, was going to be short. Seven boys playing full teams that, for the most part, had beat us during the season.

"How are they going to play with only seven kids?" my friend asked me when I moaned about it.

Good question.

The answer?

In the first game they beat the other full team 15-3.

This win was especially satisfying because the opposing coach decided to pull out the rule book in the last inning and question if our boys should be penalized runs for not having a full team.

My feeling was that HIS team should be penalized runs for having such a poor sport for a coach. Thankfully, the rule had been changed this year and our team whupped his.(Ok, that was poor sportsmanship, too...I'll own that.)

The second game our team of  seven - including one kid with a broken arm in a cast- was victorious over a team of nine (who came to the field sporting some kinda freaky militaristic chanting...I was almost waiting for them to start high stepping around the bases). Final score 11-1.

The third game was a nail biter. Only six of our boys could make the game. Broken Arm Kid was one of the six, and the temperature was soaring into the 100's. Of course, the other team was a full team of nine. Going into the last half of the last inning, our team was down by two runs.  I found myself not cheering the end of the game as I normally would--but cheering the six 12 year-old boys taking their last turn at bat.

So how did that work out for our boys?

Don't you want to know about the family of the broken arm kid? The WHOLE family came to every game. Mom, Dad, two girls and a set of grandparents cheered from the sidelines even when Broken Arm Kid couldn't play because his arm was so badly broken he had to get a new cast every other day.

Don't you want to know about the cute, cheerleader 13 year-old who was our teams scorekeeper and would go to the dugout and offer a pep talk to the boys?

Don't you want to know about the great conversations Luke and I had during our hour in the car when he didn't have to be cool, and could just chat with his mom?

OK. Our team of six boys with 11 working arms..................... won! 11-9!

I couldn't explain the win to Brian. The fielding was pretty bad, giganto holes in the outfield. Every time Broken Arm Kid got to bat, he could only stand at the ready and not swing, hoping for a walk. Our best pitcher was on vacation. The pitcher and catcher were overworked and very tired. It was freaky, scary, Why Are We Playing hot.

But we did.

The outcome of the tournament has yet to be determined, but the remarkable first three games created a feeling of winning pride for everyone involved in the team. Including this non-sporty, no longer baseball hating Mom.


  1. I could barely tolerate watching the peeps participate in gymnastics for 45 minutes. That was once a week, and it was inside! I don't know you sport mammas do it! I guess if one (or both) of the peeps decides sport are her thing, I'll join the ranks, righ? BTW ... the kid with the broken arm ... are his parents suing anybody? Just curious in an "I know someone whose kid got his arm broken playing baseball, and his parents are suing anybody and everybody."

  2. I'm sure you will join the ranks (as I am sure at least one of those peeps will play sports and my money is on the creative one!)--but you can join my ranks and freak out the whole time. Broken Arm Kid? Different kid.

  3. I so understand this story. I could write a very similar one about football...or bowling...or DANCE. WAY TO GO TEAM!

  4. Football started the day after the baseball tournament ended! AAGGH! The team finished the tourney with a 3 place trophy!


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