Monday, October 17, 2011

Take care

Good morning! What a beautiful weekend! The weather and the changing trees in the northeast make this part of the US one of the prettiest. And so, we took a trip into the mountains to see the trees and our favorite leftie. But first, let's back up a bit....

I had no intention of making the trip on Friday since he doubted that he was going to play. In fall ball, they test the condition of the existing players as well as the new kids on the team. Unfortunately, after this weekend, the roster is whittled from 42 to 35 players, therefore, it is 'crunch time' for the marginal players. This part always breaks my heart because I feel for the kids. I have been 'cut' before from teams and it is never a good feeling. In fact, it is a bad, bad feeling leading to a great deal of self doubt and psychological rationalizations such as "the coaches don't know what they are doing" or "they will regret this decision. They must be blind" or "they always hated me" and finally, "they will definitely regret this and I hope that they lose every game...." It's a natural response as your mind works to soothe the hurt that you feel when you were not good enough to be part of a team. This sadness finally ends and you wish the team well yet still have a bit of a scar from the process.

With that said, Buddy called on Saturday and said that they had a double header on Sunday and that he was scheduled to play. Oh goodie! And so, with the nice weather and beautiful foliage, we planned to make the trip late Sunday morning to catch the action. However, before I hung up the phone, the big kid uttered: "Safe trip..." Safe trip? Did he just say that? I am hearing things? Does he care if I make it? Really? He is thinking about someone else? Really? Me? Safe mean, don't have an accident? Don't die? Or in other words, I really care about you, so take it easy....

I was shocked, yet overjoyed. In a sense, he has finally picked up a part of what I have been trying to teach him over the years...that is to care about others more than you care about yourself (he's not there yet, but has glimmers of hope). My theory is that Angel has been a terrific role model. I have never met anyone so kind and sensitive at his age. he wants to be a Resident Assistant next year to eliminate living expenses. Further, for summer ball, he will "suck it up" and live with a host family even though he has an opportunity to share an apartment with Buddy. He is once again, concerned about the money. He is not bleeding his folks as they have 3 other children to consider. He is mature beyond his years (except for that one blip of underage drinking). And so, his sensitivity has been influential on my child and I am grateful.

Angel has struggled since the citation and Buddy has been his friend throughout it all...although...he has let him 'swing' a bit as Angel has had a hitting problem this fall. Buddy shared with me that he knows what Angel is doing wrong, but would not tell him because he had to face him in fall ball and did not want him to hit him when he pitched. And so, since Buddy's fall ball season is over, he told Angel last night that he was lunging at the ball, rather than sitting back. If you were Angel, would you be angry if your best friend knew how to solve the problem, but did not tell you? I might be...then again...every man for himself when it comes to fall ball performance.

And so it we arrived for the second game, I could see the big kid in the bullpen (where else?) leaning over the fence spitting seeds out of his mouth looking bored. Yet I knew that he wasn't since he was scheduled to enter the game at some point. And again, it was like deja vu...he sits in the bullpen, we sit in the stands and both of us wait and wait and wait....Meanwhile a game is going on and I really could not be too interested since I did not know any of the new players. With that said, at the bottom of the 7th inning (they play 7 innings with double headers), who runs onto the field and stands on the mound waiting for someone to catch his ball? Yep...the big kid...finally....he's got the ball and is ready to go. But where is the catcher? Naturally, it is the end of the second game and all of the kids except Buddy are tired so they saunter out to the field. Come on guys...let's move it.

Finally, the start of the inning as he warmed up and was prepared to face the first batter who was.....Angel.....he never had a chance and popped out after three pitches. The second kid struck out. The third kid grounded out to third base. Eleven pitches...six hours of driving....done. Game over... sigh....well, at least the trip was magnificent.

After a quick dinner together, we dropped Buddy off at his apartment with his cupcakes. As we pulled away, he asked Tink to text him when we arrived home. Really? He cares about us arriving home too? Wow....what is going on? Has the real kid been abducted by aliens and someone else is in his body? Or is this a new way of looking at life? Hmmmm....I don't know, but am going to relish this one all week until the next crisis...until then...take care!

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