Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Silver Lining

I am back from the Y....had to stretch after traveling all weekend, so I limped to a Pilates and yoga class. That's right. I sat through 2 different classes and am happy that I did. My joints and muscles have been stretched back to normal. I don't know about you, but it seems that there is less space allotted for legs in air planes.


Therefore, I spent the weekend with my knees next to my ears. The body is not a big fan of sitting this way, but my sweet little yogi helped to work out the knots. It was worth the effort of getting there.

And where did I leave off yesterday...hmmm...oh right...not a great performance....although not a bad one either.....

Here we go....

Create this image in your mind.....we are basically in the middle of the Midwest. There is nothing there....no Starbucks....pizza parlors....nail salons...nothing until you hit one of the cities. We drove hours without finding a bathroom or coffee....how about a Dunkin Donuts? Nope. Lots of farms....which is good...we need the corn...I personally like the hybrid corn. The genius farmer who invented it has made my summers all the sweeter.....

Back to the game....we are in the middle of no where...then we see the stadium. It is gorgeous and looks like a minor league stadium. Since the elevation is flat, the wind was not blocked and it whipped and whipped. Although the temperature was in the 60's, it felt like 40's, so I shivered from the cold and nerves.

Although he promised, the big guy did not leave us tickets. Giving him a break, he did not know that we were coming until the day before the game which probably meant that it was too late. Nonetheless, we got into the stadium, but had standing room only tickets. The seats were filled with the locals. I saw very few college students in the stadium. These people loved their baseball. It was obvious as EVERYONE was wearing the team colors. I have seen this type of fan loyalty with most pro football and baseball games, but never in college baseball. So, with a sea of red blanketing the stadium, I stood by the first base line next to a pillar and snapped photos of the big Sunday start.

As I mentioned yesterday, we gave the performance a "C" for performance but an "A" for grit and determination. Why?

Well...the opposing team was a powerhouse and ranked high. Their team batting average was in the .300's which means they are on base every third bat. The night before the game, one of Buddy's team mates stopped him and asked him to keep the game close. Huh? Close? We're going to win. What is he talking about? Close? Not us....going for a win...close is for losers.

I agree. A person especially a pitcher cannot go into a game thinking that he is going to lose and his only goal is to  keep the game close. What kind of mental toughness is that? The positive part of this thought was that my guy was not rolling over and waiting to be spanked by an opposing team. He gets angry and takes it out on the ball and batter. Mental toughness, indeed....

OK, back to the first inning. He threw....and threw...and threw...and threw.....The opposing team kept hitting the ball...foul...foul....ball...foul....strike....foul....foul....foul.....foul....He threw 40 pitches to 4 batters. By the end of the second inning, he had thrown 60 pitches! How did I know this stat? Well, the man sitting on the picnic bench next to me was listening to the broadcast of the game and mentioned it to the guys next to him. Sixty? oy...I knew right then, he was not going to last past the third or fourth inning. Throw...hit...throw...foul...throw....

When he left the game, the score was 3-1 with his team leading the game. He left men on 1st and 3rd. When the new pitcher entered the game, he coughed up 5 runs! My kid, although he threw 100 pitches in 3 and 1/3 innings held the opposing team to 1 run (even though the relief pitcher cashed in the two runs on the base), I walked away knowing that even when the big guy does not have his best stuff, he will NEVER, EVER back down. He will stand there all day and throw and battle.

And so, this is where I am impressed. He never backed off the fight. This team had 20 hits on Friday night. They only had three with my son despite his throwing 100 pitches. This is where I see hope for his future. When he was pulled out of the game, the fans applauded...loudly....they appreciated his effort because they understand baseball and knew what a job he had done.

Although he only last 3+ innings, we had to run, because when a pitcher throws 100 pitches, the innings are LONG and we had to catch a plane in KC. Along the road, I was tinkering with the radio and found the game on the local station, so we listened the the game until the signal was lost.

After the game, we started to receive the text messages.....

"Garbage. I screwed myself over"
"I sucked"
"If I throw a g-d strike we win"
"I could have killed them if they weren't squatting it up"
"I should not have let it get to that point. I could have won it easy"
"*&% away the shot to go again. I flat out sucked"
"I'm just mad because I was better than them. I beat me"

"Not getting back to campus until 6am...."

Ok, those were the actual text messages sent to us (modified a bit for a "G" rating).

The reality is that he did not have the best stuff. But even his crappy stuff was enough to keep the opposing team in check. If he had pitched against the lame teams that they played earlier, he would have no hitted them with his abilities.

It took several hours to settle down as we continued to chat and receive texts. He needed to vent. We were happy to receive them but never indulged a woe-is-me attitude. The silver lining of this gray cloud is that he battled, fought, and won a moral victory (which means that the team lost). Dewey watched the game and texted him with the statement "You belong..."

And yes...he does. Out of all of the team's pitchers, he held the beast down long enough for the relief pitcher to blow the game.

I am happy for him, although he does not feel a sense of accomplishment. I can understand. When a competitor loses, it is not 'pretty'. If he walked off the mound and said 'yep, I am good', then I would have wondered about his psyche. The bottom line is for him to learn from what worked and what did not work then move on to the next foe.

By the way, the team got back to campus at 5:30 am. Several guys had 8 am exams since it is finals week.

The big lefty had a paper, presentation, and final exam too. What kind of university allows their athletes who are supposed to be students first travel like this? I am pretty confident that the big kid did not ace his final. But he did his best....well done.

Gotta fold laundry.


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