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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Rad News Bears

Connor loved seeing Daddy waiting at home plate!
We just wrapped up one awesome season of t-ball. It was our first and it was a doozy. It wasn't what I would call a winning season, at least not in the traditional sense. As in we won exactly zero games. We did however tie two games and that was as sweet a victory as an actual win. Surprisingly, this was hard for me, I myself was never into sports so this mom of two boys gig has me experiencing a lot of firsts.

Matt was the head coach and he was so excited to lead this team of boys and teach them the fundamentals of baseball. It was kind of an uphill climb. First of all, we were a team of five and six year olds. This is an age group that is not known for long attention spans. We were also a team that was almost entirely made up of boys that had never played before. Matt expected this. What we did not expect, was that we would be going up against the Texas Rangers of little league all season long. Seriously, these kids were t-ball machines and we were administered beating after beating. Did we improve every single week, oh my gosh yes. By leaps and bounds. But when you are up against ginormous kids making major league plays, our progress wasn't as showcased as I would have liked. We were the new kids on a very grown up block and we definitely had to pay our dues. Here is the thing, Matt has baseball running through his veins. He was used to being a great player on winning teams throughout his baseball career. I thought this would be hard on him. He is a really competitive guy and I just knew that having a brand new team full of brand new players would eventually start to frustrate him. Nope, he was so darn Zen about the whole thing, it started to drive me crazy! In actuality, it was way harder on me! I wanted to win. Not only did I want to win, I wanted to beat someone bad, not just by one or two runs, but by at least twenty (my competitive self is also very immature). The more competitive I felt, the more calm and rational Matt became. Ughh. He ever so sweetly asked me to please stop coaching from the sidelines (yes, I became that woman). Not only could I not keep my mouth shut, but I had no actual baseball knowledge to back it up! (If you have read this blog in the past, you probably already know that Matt often ranks my number one skill as smack talking with nothing to back it up.) I took personal offense to all kind of calls, all of which were completely and totally justified. After every game, Matt would have to explain all kinds of things to me and after all the explanations, I was never in the right. I hate that. I mean, who knew that baseball had so many complex rules. Not me.

As the season progressed, the boys really seemed to be having a great time and I know for a fact that Connor never knew the score of any of the games. Oh, but I did and it secretly burned me up. Matt also banned me from talking to the player I gave birth to, when he caught me in the dugout before a game advising said player, "to go out there and bust some heads." Thus began my dugout suspension. During our "discussion" of that incident Coach Matt accused me of undoing all his "good work." Fair enough. I then started to relay my advice to Connor telepathically using my eyes.

This might be a good time to mention the fact that I was also team mom. Stop laughing. Let me tell you, I took to that job like a duck to water. I bought myself a sparkly baseball mom hat and stole a clipboard from school and was ready to go. My team mom duties primarily focused on sending out email updates to the team and getting people to sign up for stuff. I had everyone sign up to bring game snacks and then about two games into the season, I lost that list. Naturally. I then had to wing it and try to pull snack assignments from my elephant like memory. By the way though, as I was cleaning out my filing cabinets at the end of the school year I did find that stupid list filed under the letter R in my cabinet. Considering our team name was the Texans, I like to think that was my subconscious filing it under R for Ridiculous. As in, it's ridiculous that people put me in charge of things.

Here is the truth, we had a good little team. Those boys made unbelievable progress in three months and they had enough heart to outplay any team we came across. I absolutely loved watching these games, even if the mental score I was keeping was not exactly how I would have liked it to play out. I loved watching my husband coach those boys, especially our own son. He was infinitely more patient and fair than I ever would have been as he is clearly the more mature person in our relationship. He works tons of hours at his "real job" and then spent as many more as necessary to plan for, practice and coach our team. He did awesome. He really worked hard teaching the boys the right way to play the game and focused on teaching them the fundamentals in a way that I know will made them better players. Every day Connor waits, glove in hand to go outside with his dad as soon as he gets home from work and every day his dad takes him. I love that Matt is teaching our son about hard work and dedication and sharing a love for the game that he has loved his whole life. I'm not sure what I am teaching him through my team mom example, but I am sure it is something equally profound and important.

In case you think we are down and out, don't worry. The Texans will be back for fall ball and we will no longer be the new kids on the block. That's right, we will be rolling with some experience and frankly I am hoping to enlist a bunch of kindergartners that have been pumping iron in the off season. I have learned from our first season though and I will be on the lookout for that brand new team next time around. I am going to seek out that woman in the sparkly baseball hat holding the clipboard and I am going to hug her and let her know that they too can survive the first season of little league. Then I am going to walk away and hope with all my might that our team beats the pants off their team in order to satisfy my blood lust for winning. That seems normal, right?

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