This year we began the journey of becoming baseball parents.
My brother and sister in law have a couple wonderful athletes in their house and my nephew Braden lives, breathes, and eats baseball. Not literally of course. Eating baseballs would cause some digestive issues. I know what that means….being a baseball mom. It’s like a full time job. It’s scheduling your vacations around games and practices. It’s budgeting for equipment and travel and gear and game fees. It’s icing shoulders and scrubbing stains out of pants and perfecting the encouraging words after a tough loss. It’s hours of calm chased by moments of adrenaline. It’s patience. It’s dedication. It’s kinda just like being a regular mom. Only with more concession stand snacks.
So this year, we signed up Will to play five and six year old ball at a local park. He was turning five half way through the season so he just snuck by the age bracket. We assumed it would be like any other rec league….but apparently we aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto. These are some random thoughts and facts about our season so far….
First off it should be said that our little Will is highly competitive by nature. We don’t need to encourage him to hustle. We don’t need to tell him that practice makes perfect. We don’t need to explain what winning is or what trophies mean or what the scoreboard says. He knows. And it affects him. deeply.
He is the youngest and second smallest on the team and apparently at the ripe age of four-almost-five, we signed him up too late. A lot of the other kids have been playing since 3. That means that the six year olds that are about to turn seven have played a long time. Two seasons of tee ball and this is their second season of coach pitch.
He’s trying desperately to catch up and frankly it kinda breaks my heart to see him want something so badly that I can’t give to him. I guess we will both have to get used to that. It’s called life.
Both Jeremy and I try to stress that it’s not about winning. (although we both are highly competitive and sometimes we have to admit…it’s all about winning….but we aren’t telling him that!) We always say the same things….did you try hard? did you have fun? That’s what matters.
And I had to make a decision about how to document his years of baseball….I decided to order the buttons. The cheap $4 buttons with his picture on it from the folks that do the baseball photos. I’m gonna put each one in a shadow box and add to the collection each year. It’s kinda like a little living baseball growth chart. And because I am too cheap to purchase the $35 baseball cards, I figured that I could probably make my own with pictures of my little man in the backyard.
I can’t believe he is so big already. Sometimes it totally brings tears to my eyes. Such a little man who loves his A hat (which he believes stands for Awesome!) and has more freckles each year and is constantly battling the chapped lips.
His pants were the smallest size they had at the local sports store and they are just a smidge too big….making the whole outfit seem impossibly cuter. And he is so proud that he got to be number 11….just like Daddy.
Everyone on his team calls him William…not Will…and he doesn’t correct them or try to say it’s Will. It’s just William.
And the boys on the team are kinda categorized in two groups…those who know what is going on during the game…and those who don’t. It’s gonna be one of my favorite memories ever to think back to that first game and remember the ball rolling past the pitcher, the second baseman and finally to Will who was playing somewhere in center field. He ran it down, picked it up and was about to throw when three of his teammates tackled him. Somehow the ball went loose and everybody was scrambling for it….Will got it again by some weird happen chance and went to throw a second time when the fourth teammate (who was supposed to be the third baseman at the time) dove, hit his arm and the ball landed about ten feet away. It was both hilarious and exhilarating at the same time.
And I should tell ya….the town here shuts DOWN when baseball is on. Like everyone is at the fields.
I should have taken that as my first clue that other parents would be competitive….we just didn’t realize.
See Jeremy and I aren’t the most laid-back people in the world….but at the fields? We look practically comatose compared to some of the other parents. My dad came to a game and he thought the reaction was so funny that he wanted to record it. Not film his grandson….but the other parents who are yelling at the kids during the game. I kept on having to tell him…yes, they are only five and six year olds. No….they don’t win any money.
Will has already told us that he really wants a game ball. He has told us after every single game. He also wants a trophy. He told us. A lot.
I want a more comfortable folding chair. And a higher zoom lens. Let’s see what the baseball fairy brings us 🙂
Some folks at the field were asking if we were gonna sign up Weston for next year. I didn’t know if it would break their hearts if I told them we don’t think so….so I said maybe. Weston is not the same as Will. He’s not really a rule-follower by nature. I have a feeling that he would be the kid who tackles…just to tackle…no ball needed. I love that about him….it’s the ying to Will’s yang. I am such a lucky parent in that I get to experience both sides of the coin.
The little ones are really good at the game. Weston’s favorite baseball pastime is collecting all the rocks. He also likes to try climbing the fence behind home plate. We will ask him where he is going and he points to the top….I have no doubt that one day he will get there.
LJ watches the game a little more attentively….mostly because he is strapped down in a stroller and doesn’t have any other choice. He claps when everyone else does and gets excited when everyone cheers. Its positively adorable.
The A’s have won some and lost some and they have games twice a week and then practice about twice a week….which seemed to me like a lot but who knows….maybe that is normal. All I know is that one day that number will be quadrupled and then I’ll be that mom with the planner that is about eight inches thick with papers falling out 🙂 Batter up moms!