Bottom Of The Ninth

Insert any “end of the road” metaphors you like here; my #baseballmom summer has drawn to a close. The kids played their final tournament this weekend, and walked off the field as one team for the last time yesterday afternoon. I love everything baseball, from pee-wee T-ball through the minors and majors, but currently I love most that my kid loves the game.

I knew I’d be sentimental and teary-eyed at season’s end, and I’ve proven that I am a fair, honest judge of myself.  I’m relieved at a brief reprieve from a 4+ day a week commitment, not gonna lie here. But I’m such a sap.  The boys’ season was short on tallies in the “W” column, but by the grace of a one day window along with a fleeting memory, I’m loath to measure the season by W-L count alone.


Of the many wins and lessons this summer, I give you these:

  1. Clutch pitching counts when a game goes into extras, California Rules style  (yes, it’s a thing and it’s quite a jolt to the system).  Most of us aren’t pitchers, but all of us can try to come through when it matters.
  2. MVP designations are awesome.  Be someone’s MVP.  Be the best whatever you are–nurse, reservations clerk, or financial planner you can be.
  3. Dugout dance parties, and yes, even on-diamond dance parties (it was the last game, OK?) are a fun, sometimes necessary release.
  4. You put in the time in the off-season to make each season your personal best.
  5. Hitting your first over the fence home run is the most kick ass thing there is.  Period.
  6. Bringing your family together united in purpose is time well spent.
  7. Being with other families together united in similar purpose is time well spent.
  8. Genuinely enjoying the company of the other baseball moms and dads is a gift. This season would have been sooooo long if not for the company of the parents, kids and coaches I got bleacher butt with. April-July four days per week is a long stretch, and I’m thankful I stretched with decent, caring people.  Thank you for the laughs and your many kindnesses.
  9. Being recruited by an opposing coach is a pretty special compliment. “Who is this kid and where are his parents?” is a huge boost to any child, right?
  10. Be the kind of kid other kids can count on. It’s hard to live up to every expectation, and my son’s size makes him seem like a veteran he’s not. He still made bonehead plays and struck out like anyone else.  Remember that the best of the best are considered excellent when they’re successful at the plate about 30% of the time.
  11. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.  Henry Ford said it a century or so ago, but these words of wisdom did help my boy snap a slump.  “Hey, E, you got another triple in there for me this afternoon?”  “Yeah.  Totally.”  Love that boy.
  12. A for reals hand shake and a special exchange with your head coach after the dugout was cleared for the last time means a tremendous lot to an emotional 10-year-old and his emotional mother.  Thank you, Will. Thank you so much for this moment.
  13. Endings are hard.

Win or lose, endings are hard.  Being part of a team requires a huge investment, but its returns are many.  It’s OK to be sad that it’s over; it’s OK to hug your mom extra-tight and let the tears flow.  Yes, there’s “We’ll get ’em next year,” but it doesn’t mean a kid (and his mom. . .) can’t take a moment to recall the highlights, the new friends, to lament the coulda-shouldas and be both a little happy and a lot sad that it’s over.   I’ll be gone for a few days now.  As any true #baseballmom knows, you don’t take vacation until the last out of the last game is called.  It’s called commitment, people. Let’s call this post my bottom of the ninth walk-off.

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6 thoughts on “Bottom Of The Ninth

    • Nowhere near perfect, but it is certainly how I felt, SO emotional, the other night. I miss it already, I do, but we’re not quite fully into the off-season. One more tryout and we decide about next season. Then we’re on break. Thanks much for hanging in here with me!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wendy,

    As I don’t need to tell you, racking up wins in baseball is nice, but also entirely incidental: The communal experience of playing the game is the real takeaway. Endings are hard, but they’re part of the experience, too; they are the moment we designate to celebrate the shared adventure. Here we are in August, and I’m already dreading the impending retirement of Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who’s called the games for sixty-seven seasons! Funny how emotional we can find ourselves over a game, isn’t it?

    Sean

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely get the attachment, absolutely. I wish I knew the movie source of this line–it goes something like this: The only thing that comes close to playing baseball and winning is playing baseball and losing. It’s the love of the game. There are so many baseball is life comparisons drawn, and I guess it’s because they’re not inaccurate. That Vin Scully has been at it for a lifetime is a testament to that. Sixty-seven years??

      Liked by 1 person

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