Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Play Ball! If You Must.

The first of the multitude of my sons' baseball games for this season will be this evening. They have new cleats. They have new bats. Their mitts are well broken in. They received their uniforms and are prepared to don their cups. After many a practice, it seems that they are ready for the season to begin.

I, on the other hand, am not. I'm excited by the potential that the new little league season holds. However, the practices are so much less formal. Fewer people are shouting (including yours truly) and if you miss one it's not that big of a deal. While I have the folding chairs in the back of my truck, ready to be deployed, I still wish I could push back the start of the season just a week or two, or maybe until my boys are on their summer vacation.

I realized that my mental preparedness was lacking yesterday when I decided to copy the games from their schedules into the calendar of my iPhone. Suddenly, the days throughout May and June were loaded with dots when there had been nothing but clear open space before. As I began to panic, I realized that the dream of enjoying the warm weather while sitting on my ass and doing nothing was just that, a dream. I am destined to spend next two months focusing less on battling sleep deprivation and more on ferrying my sons between neighborhood parks and coordinating with my wife which game each of us will attend on the days when they have games at the exact same time in completely different locations.

What's that? Do they have games on different fields at the same park? Of course not. That would be too convenient for this family. Forget the four baseball diamonds at the park they usually play at. Let's separate the games by about two miles and see how that works. I swear the makers of the schedules had challenging my patience in mind during their development.

But I vow not to crack. The reason why? Because I can't let my kids see that something they are doing has beaten me. If I show signs of weakness this summer and throw my hands up in frustration at the busyness and chicken-without-a-head-ery of it all, then that will be an open invitation for them to think that they can give up on such commitments. If I let on that the reason I'm looking at my phone in the middle of a game is due to the fact that I can't believe three innings could last for an hour and a half, I'll be inviting them to quit. That is something I refuse to accept. If I had to sit in the dugout and be miserable, wishing I could just be out playing whatever I wanted during my childhood summers instead of being yelled at by my coach, then I'll be damned if they aren't going to have to do the same thing. They call it building character, or at least that's what I'm going to call it.

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