Monday, January 16, 2012

Preseason Preparation: Not for Wimps

Good morning...most schools and offices are off I? goes on and is it going? well......

Yesterday the big kid called a few times. Some calls were happy. Some calls were sad. He is trying to find his way again and seems lost. The season is impending and I am sure the stress has a great deal to do with his labile emotions. As his stress increases, so does mine. I guess that it is a "mom-thing' when you do not want anything bad to happen to your child.

Actually, it is probably not a "mom-thing" but a "people-thing". I don't think that a person has to be a mother to have these feelings for someone that you love. Seeing a person in pain is difficult. When you love them, it is more troubling. Because, there is nothing that a person can do but be there emotionally and perhaps physically for them. You need to be consistent and able to listen and not offer the old "tennis stories" of fame and despondence. Further, a caring person allows the loved one to vent even when it seems inappropriate. Therefore, I have to unlock my 'control' button and leave it on the kitchen counter.

It's time for me to spend time just listening. Often when the kid calls in this state of mind, I will ask the question: "Do want advice or for me to listen?" I let his answer to this question dictate the next approach to the conversation.

When the answer is to listen, I immediately close my mouth and do my best to understand what he is saying. I will say that even though he is living his dream, the old adage of "be careful what you wish for...." always is in the back of my mind. At this point in the year, not only is he preparing physically for battle but mentally. He has to close off his emotions and become the fierce competitor that got him to where he is...and he is...a fierce person during the season. The Mr. Nice Guy disappears and his focus is on slaying the competition. Here is where I think that he struggles....

He is a very nice, kind, and considerate person. The emotions that he feels on the mound have to be turned off. Yet, it is virtually impossible to shut emotions off for two hours, therefore, he has to prepare in pre-season to turn into a beast. His mind is fluctuating between Mr. Nice Guy and Mr. Win-at-all-costs (even if it means throwing a fast ball at my mother's head to win a game). It cannot be a simple task to turn off the real person and turn into Freddy Kruger.

Here is a kid who stops what he is doing to find Lil A, his nine year old cousin to say good bye to her when he is leaving for college. He is a person who prefers the peanut butter that his grandmother has in her house, rather than mine probably because of the memories of Grandmom making him crackers and peanut butter when he refused to eat anything else. I don't see the difference in peanut butter, but he does. Further, he is a guy who almost came to blows with some Chilean nuns at the Vatican who were climbing over his younger cousin and trying to get closer to the Pope. That would have been an interesting battle...Buddy and the nuns fighting as the Pontiff watched the action. The Holy Father probably would have taken the points on the nuns and dropped $20 with his bookie.

AS you can see, this is a problem and will continue to be until he throws his first pitch. Then his season transformation will be complete. Until then, I will hang in there with the highs and lows, frustrations and joys of preseason. Hope that you can hang in there with me.....

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