As I mentioned yesterday, this weekend's series is the biggest of the year as the team battles for a bid to the conference tournament. It's huge...really big....scary big....bigger than the finals of the 11 year old little league championship. As I recall, Buddy's team with the yellow shirts won that game and was declared the league champions. They beat the boys with the black shirts. It was a very big deal. Dad was the coach, Buddy played first base, and everyone had the opportunity to play at least one inning. It was a great night...big party...dinner out...very memorable...or actually...not....
What I do remember was the stress and pressure that the kids and coaches faced as they prepared for the championship game. The parents were stressed out too. We made posters with the kids' names and photos on them and decorated the field with streamers and balloons. I also had the chance to plan a very big party after the game, win or lose...we were going to celebrate a long, successful season. The kids won and everyone was happy, happy, happy....
As I look back on it, at the time it was the biggest game that the boys had faced. They were cool under pressure and seemed to have fun. Yet, I perspired the entire game, never sat down, and worried about the outcome. In hindsight, this was pretty crazy. It was 11 year old baseball, yet we all acted as if it was the World Series game 7 bottom of the 9th. How crazy is that?
So, now that I have experienced almost every level of baseball (minus the minors and majors), I can truthfully say that I can put it all in perspective (sort of). The pressure and stress that I felt was related to my desire to see my son and husband succeed and be happy. I wanted them to be the champions. I wanted them to feel the joy of a job well done and how hard work will also prevail. So, did they peak in elementary school? Was this the best time that they would ever have as a father son duo or team?
The answer is absolutely "no." It was a fun time, but there were better times ahead. They were able to share the ups and downs of trying out for tournament teams, travel to various places around the country and hanging out together and talking baseball. It is something that has bonded father and son. After each game this year, Buddy would call home, not to talk to me, but to speak with his dad. He would banter with him then listen, and offer some words of wisdom. As I see it, his father was responsible for his success.
It is true that Buddy had the desire, trained, sacrificed, and had the ability to excel in his chosen sport, but dad was there every step of the way. He coached, drove, listened, counseled, sacrificed, and paid for everything. This was not an inexpensive venture. Teams, uniforms and equipment are expensive. Travel to games with hotels, gasoline, food, and fees added to the cost. Coaching was another big expense. He worked out with his coach during the off season twice a week. Further when he needed a new bat, he went to his dad. I would take him to Sports Authority or Dicks to buy a bat that was half price and added my 10% coupon. Dad would order the DeMarini online and get the jazziest bat on the market.
Last week Buddy did not have any cash on his university card. I was on campus at the time and asked him why he was telling me. He knows that his dad is the one who transfers the money to his account. It was at that moment that I looked at him and commented "you have your dad in the palm of your hand, don't you?" He grinned and sheepishly nodded...Yes folks...the secret is out....I know it...Tink knows it...Buddy has always known it....he and dad have a bond that no one will ever break. I see his dad's personality emerging and wonder if he is secretly a twin.