Becoming a Baseball Mom

It is important to me that my children are well-rounded and learn a wide variety of skills and talents. Some of these skills are easy for me to  support them in or even teach them, but athletic skills are not really part of my repertoire. I have been know to call practice “rehearsal”, try-outs “auditions” and half-time “intermission”. Though, I’ll admit, I did have a mean long-jump in elementary school. Those lanky legs were good for something! So when it comes to my kids and sports, I get nervous. Will it be more natural for them than it was for me? Or will they be the last kids that are always picked last to play? We tried soccer a while back. My daughter was often seen picking flowers or watching patterns in the sand rather than the ball. When we cheered for my son, he stopped running mid-field and yelled, “Dad, you’re making me lose!” as the other kids took off with the ball. Needless to say, we weren’t terribly encouraged about our children’s chances of becoming future olympians. Last year, my son tried basketball and showed a little more focus and interest. He maintains that his favorite sport is baseball, however, so when I heard about a local coach-pitch league this fall, I rearranged our schedules and signed him up–holding my breath just a little, as he had never played t-ball, or anything like it formally, before.

Each time Trenton got up to bat during practice, he calmly and confidently connected the bat with the ball! Could this be my child? Nothing is more terrifying to me than the pressure of having all eyes on you as you try and hit that little ball with a hunk of wood. He was totally unruffled. Maybe we had found his sport. It was also fun to see him give all his effort sprinting and learn to hustle–this kid that I’ve never been able to motivate to hustle around the house. We were late joining the league and his team had already lost their first two games. His first game he got to bat twice and ended up with two-base hits. He was also able to cross home plate, scoring one of the runs that lead their team to a narrow victory! Phew! And Hooray!

His second game was a little bit of a different story. He gave me a confused look when he struck out–like that shouldn’t be happening to him. I made sure he knew that everyone strikes out sometimes and that we were still proud of him for his hard work. But something had shifted, and I wasn’t seeing that confident relaxed kid at the plate anymore.

The more teams we played, the more we saw that not all of the teams were in this for fun. The coach of one of the teams that handed us a defeat was overheard telling his team that if they lost, it would be because they were sluggish and lazy. Another team seemed to be making up the rules as they went–trying to call our players out on obscure technicalities, and questioning every count. It was the weekend we played this team that gave me my real Sports Mom Kleenex moment!

Before I had signed my son up for baseball, we had made plans to go out of town that weekend. I still wanted to go, but ultimately we (grudgingly) decided that it was more important for him to be loyal to his team and stay and play in the two games he would have missed. The first was Friday night. As the schedule had it, they were to play Team Ticky-Tacky (Names have been changed to protect the guilty)–the obscure rule team–for both matches. The Friday game was ridiculous. The other team called our star player out because he had been at the plate too long. After a couple of strikes, he decided to wait for some better pitches. Since this is coach pitch, they don’t really do balls. So apparently there is a a rule (that some teams use) that they only get seven pitches to hit the ball. They called him out when their coaches had counted 7 throws. Ours had only counted 6 (a video later showed that we were right). That wasn’t the only incident. Their ugly competitive attitude was making all of us feel competitive. It was hard to remember that we needed to be models of good sportsmanship to our children. After losing that Friday night game, we were ready to come back with notebook in hand and watch for every technicality the following morning.

But more than that, I was worried that Trenton had lost his confidence, and wasn’t finding it. Was baseball going to be a bust for him? I asked BSB about his swing–fortunately BSB knows baseball and used to do a great job playing catcher. He said he just needed some work. I reminded him of how well he had done at the first game and practices. BSB borrowed some equipment from the coach that night. He and Trenton spent another hour or two in our living room (the carpets had just been cleaned and the furniture was removed), practicing his stance and swing. He gave him some pointers on getting ready at the plate and focusing before he jumping into swinging. I hoped he wouldn’t be too tired to play again in the morning. We headed down to the ball field the next day, ready for redemption from the injustices of the previous evening. When Trenton first got up to bat, he kind of jumped in like he had the night before. Two strikes in a row. I knew he had more in him. I yelled at him and got his attention. “Focus!” I called out. He nodded, smiled, and took a deep breath. His swing connected with the ball, sending it straight into the field and easily putting him on base! He was back.

Near the end of the game, he got to bat for the second time. We were down by one run, there were a couple of runners on bases, and our team already had a couple of outs. This time he hit the ball even further into the outfield, sending the other two runners home and scoring the two runs we needed to put our team on top for good and win the game! Cue the chills, screams, and teary eyes! I was totally a baseball mom!

This victory was so sweet! Suddenly, I didn’t mind so much the change in plans that had kept us from going out of town. It was absolutely a team effort, but it was exhilarating to see that it was Trenton’s hit that enabled the team to win the game in the end! It was so rewarding to see that the time his Dad had spent working with him and the practice that he was able to put in, as well as the support and encouragement from us could result in such a success.

(The face of a kid who just won a baseball game!)

I’m not quite counting on the MLB to be supporting us in our old age just yet, but I am so glad to see my son become such an asset to his team. He is working hard, learning teamwork and sportsmanship and having a great time doing it. Maybe there is something to this sports stuff, after all. I’ll have to let you know after the next performance…..I mean, “game.” 


Did you know you can upload a custom image like this one to have printed on a Kleenex oval box. What little athlete wouldn’t love to see their picture there?

Get a Kleenex custom oval BOGO until 11/15/12, just use the code PLAYOFFS at checkout on the MyKleenex site. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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