Monday, April 25, 2011

Winning is not enough

Happy Easter Week!

We're back after spending the Easter weekend with the family near campus. The team played three games against a conference rival. We were lucky to be able to watch all of the games. Naturally, when we attend any of these events, we experience all kinds of weather. This weekend did not disappoint. Snow showers, downpours, clouds, some blue skies, and temperatures in the 60's. It was odd and memorable. I had six different coats in the car and was prepared for anything except warm weather. Naturally, the temperature went into the 60's and the heavy sweater, boots and turtlenecks sweater nearly killed me as I began to melt during Sunday's game.

Anyway, it was a wonderful time. The opposing team was an "elite" team who flies to games in their own! Just knowing that, I expected big losses....'cause if I was a great baseball player, this school would be where I would want to own plane...yeah! Although, WWAGD? (WWAGD=What would Al Gore do?).

With that said, this team was so good. Most of their players batted in the 300's, so you know that they could hit. In addition, pitchers easily hit 90 mph fast balls without breaking a sweat. It seemed like it would be a blood bath for our little team in the mountains, yet, it wasn't ;-)

The home team lost the first game. They looked and played run support....pitching was OK, but without runs, no team is going to win. The second game, the home team won (yahoo!). It was up to Sunday's game to see who would win the series. Naturally, we sat through a double header in the cold and rain and did not see Buddy play. I did get a few Easter photos for the album from his bullpen...that's it.

Easter Sunday looked to be a beautiful day. As I walked through the stadium gate, I asked the usher if it was going to ran, she confidently told me " rain today..." Ten minutes later, there was a downpour....Umbrella in the car...wool sweater soaked...A 6 foot Easter bunny was walking around shaking hands with the kids was wet and one was all fun.

To the game, we go....back and forth with the scoring. It seems by Sunday, the teams' pitching is not as sharp as Friday and Saturday, so usually, the scores are higher. Naturally, I assumed if we were going to see Buddy, it would be at the very end of the game. Unexpectedly, he was called out of his bullpen during the 7th inning (earlier than usual). The music played, he ran out....was handed the ball....and began to throw. It was very obvious that he did not have his "stuff"....this was NOT good. I believe that the score was either tied or the home team was up by 2 runs. He had to keep the opposing team from scoring for three innings and they would win the series. First batter faced....hit by pitch (oy!). Here he is on first base, with the tying run at home plate. The batter hit a double and the hit batter scored. Team up by one run....the coaches decided not to pull him and he "gutted" out the rest of the game. It was not easy. He did not strike anyone out. It was one of those pitching performances where he had to work hard for each out. Finally the game was over and the team won the game and the series. Currently they are tied for first and will meet the best team in the conference next week.

After the game, we waited for our Bullpen player for quite some time. When he finally appeared, he was in a 'salty' mood. He just won the game, and was in a very bad way. I knew why...he did not pitch up to his standards and therefore was not satisfied, even with the win. He is not good at masking his emotions (definitely not a theater major) and is very easy to read. He mentioned that one of the players was upset that the season rested on the shoulders of a freshman (Buddy). Buddy was insulted by the remark and let it bother him. It did not matter that the coaches were complimentary to him. He heard one nasty statement and this is what he remembers. And so it goes....they won the game....he won even without his "A" game....and he is not happy.

My BP Mom explanation is simple...he has to be the best...he has to give a great performance....he has to feel confident out there. Perhaps, without his game, he felt vulnerable. His comments throughout the season of "I would own them if I pitched..." were not articulated. Perhaps he was intimidated by the reputation and strength (and airplane) of the opposition. I don't know and will probably never know because he does not talk about feelings much.

With that said, he will work hard to regain his edge and confidence. I have no doubts....neither does he....One of the spectators asked me if watching him pitch during games made me nervous. I was honest when I told her "no". Buddy knows what to do. Even if his confidence wavers, my confidence in him does not. He has the work ethic and drive to be successful. He has a good defense behind him and excellent coaches. My heart might beat a little faster when he is in the game, but if I let it bother me, I would have died by now. After watching him pitch for ten years, I have learned to relax when he is on the mound. I say a few prayers...lean back....and throw positive thoughts in his direction. So far, so good..... Have a great day!

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