Thursday, August 13, 2015

Backstabbing B**ches and B****ards of Baseball

Strong title! I know. I know. I am not usually so blatant, but there is a reason and I will get to it. I won't apologize, but perhaps my post will clarify. Mama bear is protective of her little cub.

My son has played baseball (well Tball initially) since the age of 3. He has been on a dozen different little league teams. Never had much of an issue with little league.  Everyone plays everywhere - it's about fairness and fun.  It is not that competitive.  Everyone gets a trophy.

Travel Baseball has been brutal

Hunter has been playing travel ball since he was 7 years old.  It has been a world of kid's baseball that is full of bickering, backstabbing, statements such as "my kid is better than that kid" and "my kid should be playing 3rd base," criticisms about who is sitting the bench, comments about "daddy ball" which is real for some (you know who you are), but not true for all.   It's cliquish and so high school at times. People complain about little league politics, but there are definitely politics in travel ball too. Everyone wants to befriend the coach and are afraid of him knowing this, that, or the other thing because it might affect their child's playing. Parents are yelling at umpires (I might have done that once but I am not admitting it).  Parents are yelling at other team's parents. I am telling you - a riot could have broken out at one game I was at.  Coaches telling kids to go hurt other kids because a player got hurt...vicious at times. Sometimes I wish we had video of it all so we could look at ourselves and say "What the heck?" Isn't this about the kids?  It just isn't that flipping serious.  What are our kids learning? (If you read yourself in this, something to look at)

It should be about the kids - they are amazing. I have seen 9 and 10 year olds play like they get a paycheck and then go play with their Happy Meal Toys when the games are over as they eat their hamburger and fries. Such a contrast. They are just little boys (and sometimes girls).  They may seem 20 on a ball field, but they aren't.  They are learning MORE than baseball here.

I guess it all isn't negative. I mean, my son has learned so much int he last 2 years that will help him in other areas of his life. He started off being the worst player on his first travel ball team and getting the sought after last batter slot and alternate right fielder position (which he deserved). I have always believed one should work hard for anything in life, so it was amazing to see how hard Hunter worked to get better. Nearly every day, my kid has a glove or a bat in his hands, asking his dad to help him work on some aspect of his game. He is always striving to improve. He has a passion for this game - a love (albeit sometimes it is a love-hate relationship) for baseball. Every day he is thinking baseball. We should all have a passion and a love in life - a reason for being.  I have watched this boy improve dramatically in the manner he conducts himself with others - the way he treats people with compassion, the sincere interest if another player is injured or upset, and finally, the other day there was a big smile (EVEN when he got out) and I asked him about it - "I just don't feel like crying anymore." Big smiles from mama.

I thought about writing a tell all story about the life of my son's short baseball career because that 2 years, particularly the last few months is full of drama. When I tell my friends about all the events of baseball, I am told "this should be a reality show." Ha ha. It really could be. I think we could make some money in this. There is plenty of drama to go around.

I have a wonderful little boy with a great big heart. I have seen him be hurt tremendously because of one particular coach for whom I have had such hurt and anger due to his choices/actions. So much I could say here, but I won't. I saw the effects of this hurt with our recent move. I felt it was a good time for a change, so I made a leap and moved my family away.  I see all these little boys around the neighborhood and probe my son to make friends because he is definitely NOT SHY! He wasn't interested. He told me he doesn't want to make friends with anyone anymore. UGH! Crushing.  Even more anger !!! I am not normally an angry person, but I have been carrying around so much of this anger and it is eating me up.

In my journey, I found my way to a new church here and it was if the words being spoken were meant to be heard by yours truly.

Every day I want to connect with God. When communion is celebrated, I am inviting him in. Yet, how is there any room when I am full of this hurt and anger?  One of the scriptures that was discussed which affected me and made me realize how I need to forgive all of the past hurts and move beyond it:

 Eph 4:20-5:2

Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.

My goal in life is beyond having the best baseball player. My goal is to raise my children to be the best people they can be. Teaching forgiveness means first you must do it. So, I am called to forgive and I am working on it. I want my son to know that when he messes up, God will forgive him too (and of course he knows I always do).  I want him to focus on all the good things that he gets from baseball (that hard work ethic, the passion, the good character, the ability to deal with adversity and persevere, the value of the team over the individual which involves personal sacrifice at times) - traits that will carry him far in life, regardless of what he does.

So, if have done anything to you, do yourself the favor of forgiving me for yourself and your kids and I will be over here working on my own forgiveness. Writing this has been more of a catharsis than anything. I mean no ill will toward anyone.

To all the B**ches and B***ards of Baseball,
See you at the ballfield