The Baseball Mom Rules

Our baseball season just wrapped up, much differently than we expected or hoped.  Drew watched the last game from the dugout, with an injured knee, but cheering his team on and still a big part of it.  He’s played through illness and injury, with a bruised and taped hand, with a busted lip, a busted nose, a tweaked ankle, with ibuprofen and with many puffs of his inhaler.  The only games he’d ever missed in 6 years of baseball were when his breathing was so bad he was either in the hospital or about to go in.  So it took a lot to hold him back.  Parenting an athlete is much like parenting in general, with a lot of lessons to share.  So as we wrap up the year and look forward to next season, whatever that may bring,

I thought I’d share my observations, on how to be a good baseball mom.  For those of you just entering this fun season of life, or for those who can relate:

1.  Cheer them on.   Seems simple and obvious.  But so many moms, including myself sometimes often, want to correct them and coach them, and point out what they did wrong.  Let the coaches do that.  You only cheer.  (And hey, if you want to cheer so loudly that no one else can hear and it’s positive?  Great!  Just don’t be offended when I sit on the other side!)

greatestplayer

2.  Be prepared.  From the time they’re little, there are seemingly 1,000 things to bring to the park.  Snacks, water bottles, sunscreen, cooling rags, chairs, umbrellas, entertainment for siblings, cameras, and of course the cleats, bats, balls, gloves, batting gloves, helmets, hat, and on and on and on.  A list will make your life easier.  Especially when you’re leaving the house at 5:45am.  Yep, 5:45am.  (And yep, I’ve been that mom who shows up missing things- including his entire bat bag in the days before that was his responsibility)

2010 Season

2010 Season

3.  Leave the game at the field.  Some great advice I’ve heard from one of our favorite coaches, is to leave the game at the field when you get in the car.  When they’re young, they should just be having fun and not rehashing what happened.  As they get older, they already know what they did right and wrong.  Let them move on.  (I may have been known to break this one and threaten my kid because he didn’t swing the bat in a game.)

2011 SandGnats

2011 SandGnats

4.  Surround yourselves with good people.  The most important thing your kid will learn on the field has nothing to do with baseball.  Find coaches who you want them to grow to be like.  Unless your kid is one of the very tiny % of players who will go on to college or the pros, learning baseball skills is less important than life skills.  And even then, they should be hand in hand.  (We have the best around us.  And sometimes the worst!)

2013 Spring Season

2013 Spring Season

5.  Remind yourself that “It’s a Small World After All.”  Be nice.  Unless you’re in the world of travel baseball, it’s hard to imagine how many people become ugly and personal and hurtful.  But it’s a very small world unless you move far away, and you’ll see each other often.  Heck, there’s a good chance your kids will play together again one day.  (Though please God don’t let some of them end up with us again!)

2011 All Stars

2011 All Stars

6.  Toughen’ up.  Mom, I’m talking about you.  We’ve seen a lot of injuries on the field, a lot of blood, and a lot of tears.  Some of it from our son, and some from kids we love.  Let the coaches handle it until they ask you to come help.  This is a tough one.  But your kid will probably bounce back a lot quicker without you running onto the field.  (I’ve never broken this one- mostly because I’m scared of seeing how bad it is, but whatever it takes.)

last game of Spring '13 season

last game of Spring ’13 season

7.  Let them lose.  Some of the best lessons are in a loss.  Even a losing season.  Our kids are going to face tough times in life, they’re not always going to win.  Let them learn to not give up, to trust their teammates, and to give it their all and still come up short.  They’ll grow.  (I HATE losing!  Apparently I haven’t grown enough.)

8.  Push till it’s time.  Drew loves baseball more than just about anything.  He wants to play at as high a level he can.  He can’t imagine life without it.  But sometimes, he’s not giving it his all or wanting the extra workouts, or to miss something because of practice.  If and when he decides he no longer wants to play one day, I’ll support that.  But until that time, I’ll push him to give his all and be his best.  (“That knee doesn’t hurt that bad!  Come on!”  may have been yelled before I realized the current injury was real.)

9.  Enjoy it.  I love our hours at a ball field.  We’re all together, and my kid is doing what he loves best.  Six years ago we started this journey, with a tiny little four year old who couldn’t tell you which base was which.  Watching him grow into the ballplayer his is today has been a great joy.  Not because of baseball, but because of how it’s helped him grow.

Our immediate plans are to rehab Drew’s knee for a few weeks (hopefully that’s all it takes!) and get him back on the field.  We’ll enjoy a bit of summer downtime too.  But before long, we’ll all be ready to get back to what we love.

And guess what’s next?

Ben starts t-ball in the Fall!  More hours at a field, but back to where it’s all fun and cute.  I can’t wait.

Ben_NLA

Play Ball!

 

 

4 Years of Missing Austin

A new home, a new baby, a child growing up, ten tball seasons, Michael finding his funny stage voice, so many holidays, a new president, a much loved uncle dying, family get-togethers, the iPad….

Austin has been gone for four years today. Exactly four hears ago this morning, he made choices that would impact us all forever. He took a cab to a pawn shop and bought a shotgun. He went to Walmart and bought ammo and a duffel bag, then back to get the gun. He walked off, never to be seen or heard from again.

Those things listed above? Just a few of the many things he’s missed that our family or our world has had happen. What have we missed? Just him. Having him be a part of it all. We miss the son, brother, uncle. We miss what was and what might have been.

Today it seems we’re no closer to finding him, but we still will keep hope. We will remember him today, sad for all he’s missed but happy and grateful for all we did share.

Birthdays, holidays, his laugh, smiles full of dimples, help with our tech needs, days fishing with family, running through the woods, his easygoing nature, food cooked with love, laughing together at things we couldn’t change, watching him with my son, love for our family….

Those are the things we’ll focus on today. Not what is missed, but what wasn’t.

Love you Austin.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Littlest Tballer

Once upon a time there was a tball player so small and cute, that even the parents of the other teams wanted to see him score.  He had lots of fun, smiled a lot, and was pretty tough.  Even when getting hit by the a pitch from the coach and breaking a finger, he kept on playing.  He was never the tallest, never the fastest, but he gave it his all and turned into a pretty good player.  That was Austin, circa 1986.

Fast forward 20 years or so, when Drew started playing tball.  It was just a few weeks after Austin went missing that Drew went to his first practice.  He was so little, and so cute.  I’ll never forget one coach trying to teach the young kids (and Drew was the youngest) about the bases.  He took them around, yelling out the base then asked each kid to repeat it back.  When they got to home plate, he yelled “This is home plate! Drew, what is this?” and Drew yelled back, “I don’t know!”  The coach repeated his part, but Drew yet again yelled “I don’t know!” and again the scene repeated a third time.  A memory was made.  Drew also repeatedly called “Time!” when he was in the catcher spot to ask for a hot dog, and that same great coach nicknamed him “Big Dog” which he loved.   

Austin never did get to see Drew play, or cheer him on.  I’m positive he would have laughed at the antics of Drew, who was definitely the littlest tball player in the league his first two years.  I know Drew would have loved to have another person cheering him on, congratulating him for big plays, but he would have especially liked to have his Uncle Austin there.  And so would we.  I can’t quite fathom, that as we come to the end of Drew’s time in tball, that Austin missed it all.  That in the four years of watching Drew grow and mature, watching him go from the little boy who didn’t know what home plate was, to the kid making game winning catches at first base, that Austin wasn’t there for a moment of it.

I’m sad some days for Drew, that he didn’t get to have that.  But I know he has plenty of people around who do cheer him on and do love him.  I hope Austin does too, wherever he is.