Monday, July 11, 2011

Time for a break

Today is our last day in Ohio for a week. It is the All Star break and we have no desire to attend the game although it will take place in a major league baseball park. When asked what time we would leave tomorrow, I replied "8 am..." The response was very different than what I had expected from Rip Van Winkle: "Can we leave at 6 am?" I guess that someone is in a big hurry to get home. Sure, 6 am works for me as long as you drive some of the way and I can hit Starbucks for a Venti bold, we can be home in 8-9 hours if we stop for gas. So, there are our plans. Nine hours in the car with Buddy who will probably set the seat in a recline position and pass out until 10 or 11 am. Oh well...I want to get home too!

As packing begins, I can now reflect on the past 6 weeks with some objectivity. As mentioned yesterday, the league and team were misrepresented to most of the players. The development part is missing as the only goal seems to be to fill the owners pockets with money and win a championship. Actually, the team is the reigning champion, so there is a pride issue that has emerged as the coaches want to repeat the championship. As a competitor, I can understand the goal; as I parent/customer, I do not appreciate the callous way that the pitchers have been treated.

Last night, Buddy was placed in the game in the 7th inning. I could tell as he warmed up that he did not have his best stuff. The first batter hit a deep double, then there was a couple of errors with 2 runs scoring. End of Buddy's day. He stormed to the bullpen at the beginning of the 8th inning when he was replaced without being told. It seems that only the coaches and the next pitcher knew of the substitution so once again, he was humiliated. This treatment is beginning to take a toll on him.

This morning, the bear emerged early from his cave seemingly defeated. Perhaps it is fatigue...perhaps it is the acknowledgment that the summer when he planned to reveal his best stuff was a big dud. I am not sure, but I don't like the hunched over shoulders and body language that screams...I done...

With that said, my perspective is that he has been on a single lane highway for too long. To have the fullest life possible, one must take care of their body, mind, and spirit. I actually do not see much of that going on. When he is not sleeping or playing baseball, he is in his room chatting with his friends online or watching movies. This cannot be good as he figuratively vegetates into a carrot or piece of spinach. He has books by his bed that have not been opened and are collecting dust.

As a parent, I look at where I was at 19 years old. I did not have these opportunities but I did have the personal drive to achieve in my chosen field, which I ultimately did. My vocation was connected to additional education whereas Buddy's goals are linked to physical performance. Yet, he also has to attend to his mind and spirit. One coach thought that he was not aggressive he took it to the next level. I now see that his aggressiveness has been displaced by despondence. He is still a kid and probably needs some down time to reflect and work up the energy that he once had in college. The time to do it is now if he wants his ultimate goal of being drafted and playing in the big leagues.

I can only make suggestions. He is on his own to work through his thoughts and weave a way out of the maze of barriers that the summer coaches have placed before him. Do I have any doubts that he can be the player that he was in May? Nope...this may take a few months to recapture. First, he has to get over his disappointment from the summer league...put it behind him....then attack the fall season with a vengeance.

All of this is new to us as a family. If he wanted to be a doctor or lawyer, I would have answers. But this major league goal is so different, that I am perplexed. He has friends who have been drafted or are playing in the minor leagues, so he knows what it takes.Therefore, he is in charge of his destiny. All I can do is to be there to listen and offer some minor suggestions. The ball is in his glove. I have to sit back, grab a water and my lucky sneakers and pray that he is happy and content wherever he lands....

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