Hi! I'm back online. I took a day off to regroup, work, wash the car, volunteer, and read a mystery novel. In other words, it was the perfect Thursday. The nice day culminated in a positive call from the big kid.
Yep. He was finally put back on the mound after his 'punishment' for not being mentally tough. They call it 'benching', I call it a 'time out.' He was placed on the bench and watched the weekend and mid week games. He was earning the ole golden splinter award as he was relegated to carrying the buckets of balls while having a seed spitting contest in the dug out. Dull, boring.
Yet, while he was benched, he used the mental exercises that the coach suggested which incorporates breathing. While the pitchers threw, he would watch and breathe. This would have driven me nuts, which is why I would never have been the "guy". Who is the guy?
Well, the guy is the one who wants the ball when the going gets tough or when there are just a few seconds on the clock. He or she will score and lead the team to victory. They will sink their foul shots. They have this innate sense of confidence and know that they are champions.
No doubts. On the other hand, toward the end of any tennis match, I pray that the ball will be hit to my partner. let her take care of it. She is mentally tougher than I am. If the ball is hit to me, I will swing and miss or hit it over the fence. OK, maybe I am not that bad, but there are matches when I don't have the stuff and need my partner to be tough. For example....fade to black.....
Muscles and I played as partners for 9 years. We were pretty successful. Like any partnership, there were days when I was untouchable and days when she was. Yet, there had been a few matches when either I got sick during it or felt terrible. I would then say to her...."Uh, Muscles....I am feeling like poo. You gotta take it." And little Muscles (we were funny looking as I am tall and she is petite) would hit the lining off the ball. Boom, boom, see ya.....Yep, we would win the games when I could barely lift the racquet, 'cause Muscles would not die. All I had to say was that I was sick...then she was unstoppable.
What does that have to do with baseball? probably nothing....Or perhaps something. It's this mentally tough thing that has me pondering the mind, body, spirit connection. By being tough, a person does not allow their emotions to spill into their performance. You can watch the pitchers on television in their close ups. They have locked the crowd out. if they haven't, then they are doomed to fail.
My son, in his stubbornness, would assume that talent and hard work is all a person needs. yet, he is wrong about this one. A person needs the attitude that no one can hit their pitches. This mentally tough thing has him more confident as yesterday's inning on the mound had him striking out two, pop up and two walks. The coaches were thrilled with his aggressiveness. They called him dirty and nasty (this is a good thing). He walked away with a smile. He was pumped. he called home. He told me what had happened.
Then I did something I rarely do. I told him to get over himself. One good outing. Great. Move on.
Why was I so unaffected? here's why....
He lives and breathes for a positive word from the coaches. With a compliment, he is happy and golden. With a negative word or criticism, he is despondent. So, I said, "get over it. Move on. You let their opinions reign over your emotions and self esteem. You have to treat criticism and praise the same way. You cannot be affected by either. Focus on your task. Listen, analyze, move on."
I think that he was startled that I did not jump and down about two K's, but I was not impressed. Perhaps he should have had three K's and no walks. Let's get serious. This is an OK outing. The next time, amp it up. Be un-hittable. Work on command. Delivery. Strikes. Aggressiveness.
Is this too much for a mom? Nope. I have seem where he is up and down like the sun each day. he has to compartmentalize his successes and failures because with each strike out, there will be a home run or a triple hit off him. Never sit back and think that this outing is your best. Improve. Work out. Tinker with mechanics. Take care of the body. Treat each pitch like it is your last.
Wow, BP mom, you're a toughie.
Am I? Nope, I am also trying to teach him a different type of mental toughness. Baseball is not everything. But what you are learning on the field will translate into life lessons. Do not live in the past. Great. Two K's. Move on and study your accounting.
As he knows, you are only as good as your last pitch. More pitching is forthcoming. Deaden the emotions. Pump up the confidence. You are unhittable. But, do not let a phony compliment or stunning criticism affect how you feel about yourself. There should be a place in the brain where you can 'flush' these words. I think that it is called a toilet...maybe a sewage system. After all, when I hear of all of the nasty things that the coaches have said to him, I wonder how sincere they are with the compliments. Maybe I am jaded. Maybe I know when a person is trying to be manipulative. After all, these coaches lack consistency in their messages. Therefore, I take everything with a grain of salt and move on.
Move on, big guy. There is no reason to sit back, puff up the chest, and read the paper. Back to the weight room and focus on the plate. Get some rest. Kick butt on your philosophy test....