We just had try-outs. Baseball try-outs, that is. And when I say ‘we’, I actually mean my son, Devan. He is 15-years old and has been playing since he was 7. That is more than half his life! I used to think baseball was a boring sport. I hated baseball season when I was a kid because that meant nightly picnics of hot dogs, macaroni salad, and chips on the living room floor while the SF Giants played in the background. Now don’t get me wrong; I love hot dogs, macaroni salad, and potato chips, but what I didn’t love were all the shows I was missing because stupid baseball was on…AGAIN!
Now, I literally live for baseball!!! Yes, I am that pathetic. Just a little background as to how I got this way. When Devan was 7, we signed him up for Little League simply because it was the thing to do. All little boys played Little League, right? I now know that isn’t true, but at the time I really thought it was. I thought I was being this great mom by sacrificing my own dislike to ensure my son grew up to be a good and respected member of the community. And naturally, baseball was the way to assure that.
He showed some promise his first year during coach-pitch baseball. He played multiple positions, made a lot of plays, got some good hits, got hit in the nose with the ball by his coach…. Yep, a good start to America’s Game. He enjoyed it a lot and although the games were a tad boring to me (I mean, how much excitement is there really at a 7-year old's baseball game?), my son was definitely the cutest one out there!!! And I am NOT just saying that because I’m his mom! It was true!
The next year, he came back as a big 8-year old. He was moving up to kid-pitch and boy was he excited! Me, on the other hand, not so much. I was looking forward to seeing Devan out there in his size small uniform, but not looking forward to the cold nights hovered under a not-warm-enough blanket while most of the kids allowed grounders to go between their legs, missed the balls that were thrown to them, and threw the ball to the left when it was supposed to be thrown to the right. Now, I don’t want to give the wrong impression as this is very common with young children because their skills aren’t fully developed yet and I am definitely not criticizing; I’m just making the point that cold nights + slow baseball = not a lot of fun for me. But then something happened, something amazing! It was his first practice on this new team and he was by far, the youngest and smallest one out there. The kids were all lined up getting grounders and line drives hit to them when all of a sudden, BAM – it hit me. My son was good!!! Actually, he was pretty darn great! He was making those catches like he had been playing for years. That was the moment that hooked me to this amazing sport. The moment that made me see baseball in a new and improved light. And ever since that first year, Devan has been awarded many game balls, many MVPs, and many All-Stars invitations.
Okay, back to the try-outs. It was for a summer tournament team and there were a ton of 15-year old boys there. A ton! I felt confident that Devan would make the team because he’s awesome, but still being on the smaller side and seeing all those kids, I felt a twinge in my tummy that indicated I wasn’t as confident as I led myself to believe. And not only that, but Devan was sick with the stomach flu! Not a good thing to be sick with when out there trying to impress. He was first put in outfield and made all the catches hit to him. That kid could catch anything! He has only played outfield for a little over a year (he typically plays short stop), but WOWZA…he can literally run to left field from center field to make an ‘uncatchable’ diving catch. Next, he was moved to infield where he was hit hard grounders and line drives and just like when he was 8, he made all the plays. Phew! I could start worrying just a little less now. Right? Wrong! Then came the batting. My heart did a little flip as I realized that this isn’t his strong suit. Not because he’s no good at it, but because he sometimes lets the pressure get to him. For the batting portion of the try-outs, the boys were taken to the batting cages underground without the audience of all the anxious parents watching. That aspect may have helped me relax a little because in my mind, he was bombing them! Now, my little son doesn’t bomb the ball, but he can sure hit the heck out of a single or even a double…which makes him a great lead-off hitter. Try-outs are finally over and I see Devan walking toward me, looking like he’s about to pass out from all the activity his body just endured. I take him home, put him to bed, and wait for the results from the coach. Did he make the team??? Did he just miss the cut??? Aagh…
A few nights later, I get the call (and email) that Devan was selected for the team. Whoo hoo!!! Now the true fun begins. A summer filled with 6-days a week of practices and multiple weekend tournaments. While all my colleagues and friends are going on lavish summer vacations to Italy and Greece, I’ll be visiting no-name towns for multiple-game baseball tournaments and I have to admit – I’d have it no other way!
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