Monday, March 29, 2010

Thank You, Matt!

"Character, Courage, Loyalty."
Little League Motto

As a Baseball Mom, I often get discouraged.  I feel bad when Tommy misses the big play in Left field, or when he strikes out at the plate.  I am often too hot.  Or too cold.  Or trying to watch the game and keep Scotty out of harm's way at the same time.

  Here's "Gandalf", as Erik calls him, with one of his many sticks.  
Fortunately for us,this pretty much keeps him entertained for a couple of hours.

But there is another side to this whole baseball thing, too.  For every time I wince and my heart breaks for Tommy, there is another time that my heart fills with pride for him, too.  He does plenty that makes me happy for him ~ he makes The Great Play with a diving catch, or I am amazed by his eye (he really knows hw to keep his eye on that ball!).  But I feel so much pride for him because of the way he behaves when he doesn't do those things.  I love it when he chases down a ball that just tips out of his glove, the way he pretends to catch, throw, or hit the ball when he's playing left field (always with his head in the game, even when not much is happening out there!), the way he keeps his head up and hurries back to the dugout after a strikeout, and I love it when he really plays his position by backing up the third baseman or calling out where the next play is ("second base!" while waving two fingers).  

Tommy checks the line-up.

This weekend, I finally had those same feelings of pride for the little league experience in general.  You always hear about (and I often experience) the overly enthusiastic parents (ahem) the overly aggressive coaches (oh my) or the under qualified teen-aged umpires (cough).  Each of these things makes me hold my breath for a moment.

At Saturday's game, we only had 8 players.  We have 12 players on the roster, but two were scheduled to be out for conflicting schedules and two were no shows.  You don't have to forfeit with 8 players, but it isn't that fun, either.  You basically have to play with no center fielder, and left and right have to run like bunnies to keep up with the action.  

But you know what happened?  There was a boy from the opposite team who played with our boys the whole game.  He was good, too!  He played center field, first base, and third base.  He hit too.  He had serious hustle and he played just as hard for us as he would have for his team.  His own coaches and teammates cheered for him when he got a base hit (the first base coach gave him a little fist bump as he took his spot :) and Tommy's teammates gave him a 2-4-6-8-who-do-we-appreciate style "thank you Matt!" at the end of the game.

I have to say.  The whole experience went a long way toward creating the kind of good will necessary to get me through a whole season of hard benches.


  1. You will come to love those hard bleachers Mia. You will also learn to politely tell some other parent that the idiot who missed that ball was your son (I did this once) and he is trying his best (yes you really want to punch them but that is so unlady like:)) It sounds like Little League is getting better as the years roll by!! Have a great season Tommy!!!

  2. Ah, the memories . . .freezing at the beginning of the season, dying of the heat by the end of the season, long stretches of every Saturday spent at the Little League fields and taking my shift working at the "snack shack". Sports were such a defining experience for my kids all through school. I never played sports myself (ballet lessons were more my style) but I'm so glad they had the opportunity for so many years. Marea says it builds character, and I don't think she was just talking about me. :-)

  3. xox
    i love reading about your experiences. i know i am learning from them.

  4. Oh Betty, oh my, I just don't know. My current strategy is to keep a book and/or a bit of yarn with me at all times. Walking away is always an option, I guess, but I hope it doesn't come to that! I think it IS better, in the sense that people are more aware that what they're doing isn't okay; which generally means they can keep a lid on it for two or three games at a time, but it's simmering there, and every once in a while...hold onto your hats! :)

    Laurie, I love that from Marea. Kids!!!

    Soon enough, Michelle, you'll be an expert on everything "big boy"...times two!