zondag 26 mei 2013

Homerun or Strike?

Stupid me!  I did delete by accident one blog entry that I had composed only a week ago. One about baseball and what I makes me feel like when I am standing as a mother next to a baseball field.  I am head banging my head for the moment. I liked that entry. First of all because it was about my son and me and second of all it was about baseball.

Because I also write these entries for him in the hope that he one day will read a few of these entries and know what his mother was alike. He might not care but that is not my concern for the moment. So I feel obliged to rewrite that entry. Not that it will be 100% the same.

A is now playing over a year baseball.  A game that I got to love while being an exchange student in the States. That my son was able to sign up in my home country I was quite happy about. The uniform I do like a great deal. The underwear and the protection that comes along does cause some giggling but safety above all. What is right now the biggest mental opponent in the whole baseball chapter is the Belgian weather. P even thinks that ever since A signed up that we did not have any nice weather at all.  It is a quite an effort to get up on a chilly and wet Sunday and driving your son a baseball field and then have to stand next to side lines.

The fact is that I have seen my son making progress in this last year with a bat and a glove.  He plays in a very nice team where the coaches try to motivate and having fun while playing.  Okay hitting a homerun is the ultimate dream coming true. Something that I wish for A to happen when he comes out of the dug out.  Yes, I am then a nervous mother who then is keeping her fingers crossed that he will then hit the ball and that it then will fly into the direction he wants.

The moment that the pitcher throws the ball into his direction and he swings his bat I do hold my breath. In that split second anything is possible. One hit away from a strike or a homerun. All the possibilities are still open and that does give you as a standbyer a very good sensation. The moment that A then takes off for first base I go balistic inside of head.  A part of me would love to run next to him and get him as fast as possible on that safe first base.   When he makes there I do feel rather relieved because it is such a big difference.

A does know what it feels like when he hits a strike. It is not a lovely sight. His body language says it all.  Those shoulders go down, he does not make eye contact with any of his team mates and goes back into the dug out and sits then on his bench in a corner.  I would love then to run over and give him a big hug and tell him that it is okay.   But what goes up has to come down once in a while and in baseball winning and losing are essential in playing any game.  Even in life and so in a way hitting a strike is not that bad.  I keep telling it to myself that it is part of the learning process and that he will be fine.

When he does make it do first base I am cheering very loudly. I then hope that he has a better over view of the field and that he then can stay as focused as he should.  Also I am very happy that he then can help his team mates to get back home.  There is nothing more stressful then that all the bases are loaded you then are on. 

I love the sound of a ball that hits a bat. It almost sounds as music in my ears. It is a very liberating sound.  It is right after that close contact moment that everything is possible and that you have to let go as well.  As a parent next to the side lines I do then keep my fingers crossed that the ball heads into direction is the most adventage for her son.  Strange to say that having such a problem with letting a go that when I am standing next to a baseball field that I do master it already a great deal better then anywhere else.

Yes, I am proud of A that he still manages to keep himself focused when he is out there in the out field waiting for a ball heading his way.  Playing baseball is also running after a ball that you know will be very hard to catch up with, picking it up over and over and once in a while having to face the fact that even if you try it will not end where you wish it to land.  The stamina he has already shown on a baseball field makes me a very happy mother.

That his team mates and coach cheer him on matters in a way more then when I do. Not that I would wish to cheer loudly but out there he is on his own and already surrounded by a whole team and back up.  Sometimes I even feel out of place when I see him there standing and swinging that bat.  I sometimes close my eyes and just hope for the best.

Today his team Brussels Kangaroos won again and A did got high fives, cheers and smiles from his team mates. It was good day out there at the baseball field. One I would sign up again without any doubt but deep down I know that there will be many moments that a ball will not land or fly where he wants it to go. So today we did celebrate the win with a bag of crisps as a reward. My best moment of the morning was when he walked off the field with his bag and said:'Hey mum, I did well I did help my team to win!' 

You all know what it feels like to hit a homerun or a strike or when a ball lands in the out field. We all have to walk once in a while into the out field to find back our focus. To have a better overview of life and what we are after. Let us just say that home runs are nice but hitting a strike and then managing to hit a homerun (and football player Robben will agree with me on that one after missing a penalty shot but scoring a year later the decisive goal in the champions league final game)is in a way so much intenser and unforgetable. So let us play some ball and are you 'BASEBALL READY'?  After all like the memorable baseball player Babe Ruth stated once:"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”'

"Sometimes a strikeout means that the slugger’s girlfriend just ran off with the UPS driver. Sometimes a muffed ground ball means that the shortstop’s baby daughter has a pain in her head that won’t go away. And handicapping is for amateur golfers, not ballplayers. Pitchers don’t ease off on the cleanup hitter because of the lumps just discovered in his wife’s breast. Baseball is not life. It is a fiction, a metaphor. And a ballplayer is a man who agrees to uphold that metaphor as though lives were at stake.

Perhaps they are. I cherish a theory I once heard propounded by G.Q. Durham that professional baseball is inherently antiwar. The most overlooked cause of war, his theory runs, is that it’s so damned interesting. It takes hard effort, skill, love and a little luck to make times of peace consistently interesting. About all it takes to make war interesting is a life. The appeal of trying to kill others without being killed yourself, according to Gale, is that it brings suspense, terror, honor, disgrace, rage, tragedy, treachery and occasionally even heroism within range of guys who, in times of peace, might lead lives of unmitigated blandness. But baseball, he says, is one activity that is able to generate suspense and excitement on a national scale, just like war. And baseball can only be played in peace. Hence G.Q.’s thesis that pro ball-players—little as some of them may want to hear it—are basically just a bunch of unusually well-coordinated guys working hard and artfully to prevent wars, by making peace more interesting.”

David James Duncan

Today I also was passed on this link to a very impressive letter from a minor league coach. A letter any parent, teacher and coach has to read. And so yes, I get the message I better be a silent mother next to side lines of a baseball field.


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