I Call Him Slugger

My son is playing baseball. For the first time.

He’s got muddy cleats.
A sweat-stained baseball hat.
He’s learned to spit. And adjust.
He surprised us with a love for the game and a small competitive streak.
Huge strides considering he used to be a cross dresser.
He’s done pretty good too.  
Until last week’s game.  He struck out three times.  In a row.
On the third strikeout he took off his batting helmet, threw it to the ground and stomped away.
Not exactly honoring the YMCA sportsmanship pledge on the back of his jersey.
My daughter had a volleyball game going on at the same time, so I missed the spectacle.
But my hubby did not.  He coached him thru his bad attitude and encouraged him out of quitting.  They worked on batting during the week a time or two. And his big sister even encouraged him with stories of her sports failures.  Although she had few, she made sure she mentioned seven times.
I reminded him that everyone has off days and it was just part of the game.
My hubby and I switched places for the next game and he went with my daughter to volleyball and I followed my son to the baseball field.  
He was called first to bat. 
I wrung my hands nervously.  
Since this is YMCA ball, they give the little guys about six pitches. 
The first five, he swung and missed.  
Now, to everyone else this was not a big deal, but I knew it was huge to my little boy.
And I’m telling ya’ll, I prayed and begged so hard, it was just plain wrong.  I mean, The God of the Universe was surely busy on that humid Saturday morning.  But I was desperate and so was my son’s self esteem.
I had my first hot flash on the sidelines.  I rocked back and forth in my seat, willing him to hit the ball.
On the sixth pitch he made contact.  
I stood up and screamed like one of THOSE moms.  I made a complete fool of myself. I almost did a cartwheel.
Be glad I didn’t, mkay?
And there were tears, ya’ll, real tears. I just couldn’t help myself. The look of relief on my son’s face was huge.
He didn’t make any major plays and was caught once picking flowers in the outfield.  But he felt like a winner because he persevered. At one point, he held up the game and in front of all the parents said confidently, “Hey Mom, could you squirt water down my back? I’m working hard here.”
Ahhh, my boy was back and he was  real slugger.
And call me crazy, but I think God was in the stands.

Comments

  1. 3

    says

    What a darling boy!!! And what a proud Momma… I have no idea what Mom I’ll be on the sidelines. I’m usually really quiet but I think I might’ve screamed too!

  2. 5

    says

    Yay! I totally understand your wringing hands, hot flash and urge to cry. Been there. When they hit that ball (finally)it is such a great relief! I’m glad you were there to see it.

  3. 6

    says

    Hee hee!! Don’t they all eventually pick flowers in the outfield? My son did – only it was when he was on the field playing soccer.

    Good for your son :-) My son tests for his next karate belt on Friday and I’ll be there cringing and praying to myself.

  4. 7

    says

    What a change. I remember the cross dressing post. His dad must be soo happy. :)
    I have shed a tear or two at my kids’ achievements. I understand what you were going through. No shame in a few shed tears.
    Cindy P :)

  5. 10

    says

    That is AWESOME! My son is playing for the first time this fall, too. He played t-ball last year, but you know, he had a T to rely on. I wonder how he’ll handle this…

  6. 11

    says

    Can you send God over our way next Spring? My son (11) had a difficult time transitioning to the older league this year and struck out 95% of the time. He got to the point when he would not even swing the bat and would watch the balls go bye. It was PAINFUL for him, my husband and me. So, yeah, we could borrow God next spring!

  7. 13

    says

    I was noticing those calf muscles – does he bike a lot or something?

    I know what it’s like to sit in the stands and absolutely stop breathing for 4 minutes. It’s a mom thing.

  8. 18

    says

    We went through the exact same thing with our son when he was 5. He was just trying to figure out his place in the sports world when we tried YMCA baseball. Every time he would strike out he would drop his shoulders, hand his head down and drag the bat back to the dugout.

    I think we got 1 hit that year and we screamed like it was a grand slam.
    Of course, we’ve not played baseball since.

  9. 20

    says

    Been there, done that years ago. Only ours was a soccer field!

    And, the seasons and sports may change… but that “in the stands, mama’s heart” never does.

  10. 23

    says

    Great job!

    And the picking flowers thing won’t stop until he is hit with a ball or outgrows it, just a life lesson from a coaches wife. Our outfield was dandelion free by the end of the season.

  11. 26

    says

    Yea or sluggler! And this is just SO sweet! We all want our kids to have that feeling of pride and accomplishment. You are such a good mom.

  12. 28

    says

    I have yet to attend one of my child’s sporting events, but we have soccer starting up very soon for my 4 year old. I can only imagine how loudly I’ll be screaming for him. :-)

  13. 32

    says

    You should be proud of yourself and your entire family. He learned some valuable lessons and did some lifelong character building. I bet God was smiling from the stands.

  14. 33

    says

    Great story. I feel your pain. My boy just started flag football and hasn’t caught a single ball. It’s killing all of us, but I just keep that smile on my face and my fingers crossed behind my back.

  15. 36

    says

    Awwwwwwwww! My Dude played his first summer of Y baseball this year as well. Yes, he struck out, yes he got caught picking dandelions . . . but man did he have fun! And boy did I yell when he hit the ball or made a play :-) That’s what we moms do, right? We’re always their biggest fan :-)

  16. 37

    says

    Oh how sweet. Isn’t it hard to watch them struggle? But yet life is so full of struggles and we have to learn from them. Lesson well taught and well learned. Yes, God was in the stands that day, and God was there the other day too!

  17. 38

    says

    There’s nothing wrong with being one of those moms – we all are when our babies are out there.
    I’m a loud, mouthy, cheerin’ (volleyball and soccer) momma and proud of it. (Within reason, of course. NOT counting those mothers that are screaming INSULTS at their own children or the coaches. I’m not one of THOSE mommas.)
    Keep cheering!

  18. 39

    says

    I haven’t been there yet – the sports mama thing. But I was right there at your son’s game, reading that! I was practically crying when he hit that. lol
    Awesome writing, Kristen. I’m in awe once again! And I’m feeling proud of your son too. And a little weird.

    ~ Cathy

  19. 40

    says

    “Hey Mom, could you squirt water down my back? I’m working hard here.”
    What a crack-up! Hey, I gave you an award today. Because you are pretty awesome. Or pretty and awesome. Take your pick.

  20. 41

    says

    Ah, yes, I live those days every fall & spring. And I pray every time my son goes up to bat. Like you, I felt God was too busy to help a boy hit a ball, but I was desperate. I wanted my son to feel successful & that his hard work was paying off. He's had a l.o.n.g. batting slump. He finally got out of it, but I find myself still praying every time…

  21. 42

    says

    Good for him for plugging away at it! He’s building those life skills! Even if he didn’t say, I’m sure he was proud of his mom in the stands cheering him on.

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