Grateful For A Tough Batting Season - A Mistake I Made As A Parent
I felt compelled to write this because of the time I have spent thinking of the things that I have worried about lately and finding out what lessons I can learn from them. Also, I would like to have a virtual letter that can't be lost or misplaced so that one day my son would be able to look back, read it and know just how I feel about him and so that he can benefit from the lessons I have learned with his own son or daughter.
My son has played travel baseball since he was 9. He didn't really come from a baseball background as both my husband and I know nothing about the sport. We have only grown to love it because of my son. He has always had great seasons on the teams he has played on, of course he has had times when he has swung at a high pitch with a full count, I have watched as he missed a ball thrown right at him and been there when he has thrown a pitch as high as the top of the back stop. But all in all he has always ended up all seasons as a strong, confident player who lays it all out.
This year was different. I have never seen him struggle as much with batting as he did this year. Yes, it wasn't his strongest area in baseball but usually he would deliver. I guess it wouldn't be that big of a deal if he was on the same team as he had been on in the years past. His old team knew his history right? They know that this is just a phase and this kid will persevere. Every baseball player has a bad year. It so happens however that he was an added 12th player on a team that has been together since 9U. They knew nothing of this kid and his performance. All they knew was what they saw this year. And, it wasn't much in the batting department.
I began to dread going to baseball games. I could feel the other parents when my son was up to bat, the disappointment and quiet remarks amoungst the parents, "this is what our hear coach said was a player with very special skill sets....". I didn't have the support group I had in the past on our old team, all with whom went through the same emotions and fears that I did so were were able to support one another. This team I had no one. I could feel myself slowly removing from the team with my tail between my legs. He wasn't the all star Jeter they were made to believe, just a 12 year old boy who loves the game and is passionate about doing well. I started to feel stressed out at every game, not wanting to go and sit alone to endure the looks and feelings I know the parents had. I was embarressed.
As time went on, I began to start noticing things in my son unrelated to baseball. He would stand up for kids at school that were being picked on, open doors for women including his older sister and I, doing well in school without my nagging him, help his dad in the yard during the heat of summer without being asked, going to swim practice at 7am every day in the summer and enjoying it, no complaints at all, helping me with chores around the house, being a good friend, giving me random hugs and so much more. I slowly started to realize the wonderful young man he is becoming. I for so much of the season focused on who he was as a baseball player, I failed to realize the wonderful gift of a human being that God has given me. One of my major regrets as a parent.
After realizing what was right in front of me, I am free from the worries of making the team. I know the type of kid I am raising and any team would benefit from having him. This will make him a stronger young man. He is a great kid - funny, intelligent, kind-hearted, a great athlete and passionate. I am so grateful for a rough batting season.