Saturday, June 7, 2008

athletic supporter

This has been a tough baseball season for my oldest son. He has played every year since he first qualified for T-ball, but this is the last year for him in Little League due to his age. He used to be a decent player in comparison to the other kids, but as more and more kids dropped out along the way, only the cream of the crop is left. And the cream of the crop tends to train and play year-round, and go to baseball clinics, and otherwise really focus on developing serious baseball skills. Playing stickball in the backyard on the off-season just doesn't cut it these days.

He knew he was in for a hard time when he was picked for a team that had some really good players on it -- kids that are also on the travel and middle school team. Unfortunately, many of those kids tend not to be great team players, and get impatient with the non-star performers. And this year, Primo was in the non-star camp. While he had previously been a fairly consistent hitter, his swing fell apart and he mostly struck out. His arm isn't as strong or fast as most of the others anymore, and that put him in the bottom of the pile too. So when his team was chosen, out of all the teams in the league, to be in some sort of championship tournament against other towns, I started to worry.

His team won the first two games. And today was the final game for this stage of the tournament.

Primo played his usual game. Because it was an "important" game, he was benched for half of it and played the outfield for the other half. He was OK with that, because the pressure on the catcher (where he usually plays) was getting pretty intense with everyone's expectations.

As the game dragged on in the heat, we approached the last inning. Our team was down by three points. "Please, don't let him come up with bases loaded and strike out," I prayed. My LSH thought I wasn't being a great supporter, but in true mom-fashion, I was really looking out for my kid. I didn't want to see him get hurt, because I knew he was trying his best. I didn't care if the team won or lost, but I didn't want him to be the goat.

Sure enough, we worked our way through the batting order to the bottom, where he waited.

His team was down by one run.

Bases were loaded.

And there were two outs.

As he made his way up to bat, my heart made its way into my throat. I was fighting back tears. I could barely watch. All I could do was send up silent pleas, knowing that God has much bigger priorities than my kid at bat in some stupid (there! I said it!) baseball play-off game. I didn't even care if the ball was caught for an out, just as long as he managed to hit the darn thing.

And he did. He made contact for a little grounder that took a funny hop and got past the shortstop. He actually made it safely to first base, with a huge smile on his face that was a mix of relief and disbelief. I yelled and screamed louder and harder and longer than anyone else there, to the point that I got funny looks from the rest of the parents. That's OK, I'm used to those. I was just doing my job as athletic supporter.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds intense. I guess kid's sports just can't be "only" fun these days. Glad he did well though.