Tag Archive | youth

The Will to Win

I’ve become something I never imagined I would be… a Baseball Mom.

And I love it.

I love going to the baseball fields and watching the dirt fly from little cleats on a hot summer day. There is something magical that happens when you hear the crack of the bat or the smack of the ball in a mitt. And it’s a thing of sheer beauty when you watch your son slide with everything he has into Home Plate, and you see the smile on his face that refuses to go away. If you’re lucky, you get to go to every game with parents who love getting to be there just as much as you do. You become an unspoken community, cheering on each other’s kids with just as much heart, as you celebrate the wins and lament the losses. I’ve loved watching my boys grow as athletes.

To one of my boys it just comes naturally, to the other he has to work at it, each approaching their sport from very different perspectives.

The one who is natural is an emotional thinker, who approaches his game with passion and heart. His love for the game is deep, often compelling him to practice just for fun, without anyone telling him. The other child, approaches every at bat with a huge smile on his face, fearing nothing. He tells anyone who will listen that he is going to be baseball player when he grows up. He doesn’t realize that he is one now. When his bat connects with the ball, he runs the bases with such contagious joy that his fans smile with him as he takes his base with pride.

I love watching my boys grow in their skill as well as the way they connect with their teammates. I adore their love of the game, and now I also love the game, even when they’re not in it.

We’ve been fortunate to have wonderful families who parent the boys, on our teams, as well as the coaches (including my husband) who have led them with fairness, kindness and toughness. The reality of it is, that isn’t always the case in any kid’s sport. We hear it, we witness it, and we experience it as we send out boys into the world to compete against others who are far less fair or kind.

My oldest plays travel ball with a great group of kids in a competitive and selective league, which he had to try out for. During one of our most recent games, our kids were getting killed by a bigger and far more aggressive team. Despite our struggling performance, our kids did pull out moments of brilliance, which our parents loudly celebrated. When one of our boys made an amazing hit and was running toward first base, my husband who was the first base coach at the time heard their first baseman say “Why are those parents cheering? We’re killing them!”  My husband responded, ” They’re cheering because they are proud of their kids!” This other team, despite their very high score and our very low one, continued to steal bases, chant for reasons other than “rallying”, and run on our kids all the while driving their score up and our kids further into the dirt. (Parents of children athletes understand what I’m referring to here.)

I suppose one could take the above paragraph as whining, which certainly depends on perspective. But while I want my kids to win, I want so much more for them. Learning how to steal bases, take advantage of their situation, and taunt people aren’t necessarily lessons I want them to learn. It doesn’t teach them how to win or even understand what winning is about. I want my boys to have the will to win, but I don’t want them to win at the expense of others and their dignity or spirit. I sound like a girl, I know. But as I watch our coaches, they handle the boys with discipline but also with integrity. More importantly, they expect the same from them. They are taught accountability and sportsmanship, teamwork and grace. All of which will carry them through life and be far more valuable than the lessons we’ve seen other coaches teach their boys.

It’s highly unlikely that many of these boys we compete against, or even on our team, will make it to play college or professional baseball. Teaching boys to slide with their cleats out for 9U, or condoning and encouraging narcissistic chanting, is completely wasteful of the opportunity to shape young minds to win with heart and integrity. Parents and Coaches who propel and influence their children in this way, should look in the mirror and question their own motivation and purpose.

It’s not that I don’t want my boys to win. Of course we play to win! Winning is fun and it gives you a feeling of purpose and happiness that’s impossible to replicate. It’s why we have Play offs, the World Series, trophies, and MVPs. But the will to win comes from within, and winning tastes more divine when it’s done with excellence and sportsmanship. I’m no different than any parent who dreams of their sons playing professional sports one day. But I’m also realistic and understand that they just may not have what it takes. Regardless of where their path may take them, I do believe the lessons they learn in youth baseball will be imprinted on them for life.

The coaches who teach them to respect the other team, look out for their teammates, play fair, and not take advantage of others weaknesses, are instilling crucial values that will make them better men, husbands, and father’s.  And for this, I am far more thankful.

 

 

When I’m 64

Yesterday, I was 26.

Well not really. I haven’t been 26 in… Never mind. That isn’t the point. I think a lot about getting older, especially on people’s birthday.

Today is my husband’s birthday. He’s as funny and handsome as ever. He gets better with age, in every way, though he staunchly disagrees. He was cute in his 20s and good-looking in his 30s. But I think he’s as hot as he’s everbeen. He’s no longer the 20 something year old boy that I fell in love with. Instead, he is truly a man, wiser than ever and comfortable in his own skin, which makes him incredibly attractive.

As I am aging, Mother Nature and I are definitely at odds. I’m wiser, as well. But as for the other stuff.. perhaps it only works for men? After all, I was more comfortable in my skin in my 20s than I am now. But I wonder if it’s the age that really matters, or some mistaken notion of what growing older gracefully really is?

I’ve spent nearly two decades celebrating my husband’s birthday with him. And even that has gone so quickly. My children are no longer babies and my puppy is now an old lady. As for me, I am at a crossroads. Either I can whine about getting older or just accept that my reckless youth is gone. I have this wonderful opportunity to embrace my mistakes and grow from my past. I have now have gift of hindsight, insight, and patience; all of these things missing when I was younger.

But let’s be honest. It can be depressing to get older. The crows feet, the slowing metabolism, and having things that sag that didn’t used to. Some days it just downright sucks. But it happens to all of us, and we have to accept it.

I look at my husband and I’m encouraged. He will always be a couple of years older than I am, but he makes aging look so good. He’s got the levity of a guy have his age, but the wisdom and perspective that only comes from experiencing life.

I think I want to be him when I finally grow up. 64 is just a stones throw away… my boys will be men, possibly with children of their own. And I’ll be much older than I am now. I hope that when I’m 64, that I still think of these years as my youth. I hope that I’m wiser, better, and that I’m no longer grappling with Mother Nature.

I hope that she’s been kind to me and that I’ve accepted her. And I hope that by then I’ve adapted a little of my husband’s hotness, as well as his levity, when I’m 64.

Blog challenge Day 26-an old photo of me

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This is a photo of me when I was in my 20s and all was right with the world. I was free, full of fire, energetic, and hopeful.

It’s many years later and I don’t look quite as young and fresh, but there is a lot about me that is the same. I’m still full of fire, just slower to burn someone with it. I have two young children who keep me full of energy, but I tire a lot easier now and rest when I need to. I don’t know how hopeful I am. Some days I wake up full of hope and other days I’m convinced that the world is a doomed and evil place. But then I look into my children’s faces and I suddenly can find my hope again. It’s just not resting so readily on the surface as it once did.

I love this picture of me. It’s taken with my niece, who I adore, and it reminds me of who I was and who I still aspire to be. That girl in the picture is still alive and well. She’s just a little bit older, and a little less naive. But she’s thankful and wiser, and that’s just fine with me. ❤

Don’t Worry Baby

I wrote this for someone I love who is struggling to find her happiness in life. It breaks my heart to see someone so young carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. But I know what that can feel like, and how hard it can be to feel so old when your young. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a poem and I’ve only ever done it for me. But I thought I would share it because that’s what this blog is all about. Sharing, even when I’m not completely comfortable doing it.

Don’t Worry Baby
There are moments that come,
And moments that go.
But don’t worry, baby
That’s the way life flows.
Just hold your head up,
And keep your heart close,
And don’t worry, baby
That’s the way life should go.
The weight of the world
Can’t all fall on you.
You’re just a girl,
You’re not the glue.
Your life wasn’t meant to make it all better,
To keep us all sane,
To hold it together.
You can’t wear the heaviness
Of everyone’s pain.
You can’t carry the mantle,
Of everyone’s shame.
Let it go, baby,
Let them carry their own.
Let them figure it out,
And leave you alone.
You’ve got your own life
To live and to breathe,
You’ve got your own sadness,
You’ve got your own needs.
So go find your smile,
Go find your bliss,
Go live in the moment,
Life is better than this.
Don’t worry baby,
Life is waiting for you
To find your own happiness,
But until you do,
Let the sadness go
Just a bit at a time,
Then you’ll see what I mean,
And you will be fine.
You’re a beautiful girl~
With an angelic soul
You need to find peace,
To make you feel whole.
There are moments that come
And moments that go.
But don’t worry, baby
That’s the way life flows.
You hold your head up,
And keep your heart close.
And don’t worry, baby
That’s the way life should go.

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