Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Letter to My Dear Boy

Dear G,

      I just read a magazine article that mentioned paying kids for accomplishments they make on the football field.    You had also mentioned that some of the kids on your baseball team do this too and asked if we could do it.   My knee jerk reaction was a solid maybe, and I went so far as to say, “I will consider it, but I will also fine you for each ball that goes between your legs.”   There are always good lessons to be learned when money is involved and I really considered it.  But when I said what I said, my gut sent a message and I began a little soul searching.  You see, your team is new and you are off to a blazing 7 game losing streak.   The team holds a lot of promise, but has not experienced that “Hallelujah Chorus” moment as of yet.   I think you NEED something to help keep your heads up, but I have spent the last couple of days thinking about it, and thinking about what I want for you in this experience and have come to the conclusion that  money is not going to be the answer. 

     Your reward is playing the game.  See that word, playing!  You are playing and it is supposed to be fun and fun should be enough.  I know how “un-fun” losing is, but lucky for you, fun is not the only reward this experience has to offer you.   And really, even losing at baseball is a privilege that many kids don’t have because they don’t even get to play.   

     You are learning perseverance.  That means sticking with something.  Even when it is hard.  Even when it just plain sucks.   Life is going to throw you some really tough situations and the only way to get through them is by manning up and getting through.   Remember your favorite book “The Longest Season” by Cal Ripken Jr?  The one about the 1988 Orioels’ season that began with a 21 game losing streak?  The lesson in that book is perseverance and I think you like it so much because you are so excited for the O’s when they make it through.    

     You are learning perspective and dealing with disappointment.  So you lost some games?  That stinks.  But the sun rose and you kept on breathing and your mom still loves you and God still holds a great plan for you and these are the things that truly matter.   Sports are very, very important. Family, and Love, and God are even more important.  Remembering that is perspective!  

     You are learning to be a team player.  You boys are all in this together and there is nothing more rewarding than coming together, working together, and meeting a goal together.   You are going to be a part of many, many teams in your life.  Bringing your best to the team and helping others to be able to do the same is going to serve you well each and every day.  Benny did this for the kids at The Sandlot, and that is why he was such a great teammate.       

     You are learning sportsmanship.  My favorite play that you have made all season long was not a home run and was not a play in the field.  This play involved you picking up the opposing team’s catcher’s helmet and carrying it back to him when you came up to bat.  You did not have to do that, but it made my heart explode with pride when you did.  A simple gesture of helping out a fellow ball player  showed sportsmanship and respect for your opponent.  If you respect your opponent in that way, and play with class and dignity, NO MATTER the outcome of the game, you can walk away with your head held high.   Remember on The Sandlot when the boys rode in on their bikes and challenged Benny’s team to a game?  Remember why we hated them so much?  They had no respect for their opponent (and they were beaten badly because of it). 

     You are learning real consequences.  When you miss a ball, the consequence is that out is not made…...  maybe  the runner scores……maybe  you lose.  When you make mistakes in the field, it makes things easier on your opponent and harder on your team.  I want you to work hard and do your best for sake of your team, not for the sake of your personal gain.   I do not expect perfection out of you.  I expect effort.  Solid, honest effort.  I don’t expect error free outings, but I do want excuse free ones.  

     You are learning to do what it takes; to give it your all.  Sometimes you have to dive.  Sometimes you have to get dirty.  Sometimes you have to swing no matter what the pitch looks like.  Sometimes a throw comes in that you didn’t see coming and you have to slide.  Sometimes you have to keep going even with a big grisly catcher blocking your path to home.   Sometimes you drop a ball and the very same thing comes back at you with the very next batter.  Just part of the game, right?  Yes, but it is also rising to the challenge and facing obstacles and making the most of a second chances.     
     You are learning integrity.  You call a ball, you get it.  You make a mistake, you own it.   Then you work hard to not let it happen again.   You do something fantastic, you smile and relish in that moment without bragging.  Everyone will be happy for you without you reminding them they should be. 
You are learning independence.  When you step on that field, you have to do it yourself.  Daddy and I cannot catch, or throw, or hit, or think for you.  We are right there watching and cheering you on,  but you have to do it on your own.   I promise there is not a better feeling than knowing “I DID THAT BY MYSELF!”    

     You are making friends.  We have been blessed with a wonderful group of players, coaches, and families as a part of our team.  This should be the greatest reward of all.  Our friends and our relationships with people are the most important thing we can have.   Period. 

     So, No, Dear Boy, there will be no cash for playing baseball.   I am not saying it is wrong.  I just fear that if money gets involved you will focus only on that and will miss all of the life lessons that the great sport of baseball is trying to teach you.  And I believe allowing that to happen  would be an "E" in my score book. 
I love you!  YOU are my heart’s delight!


.....Elizabeth..... Polka Dot Skies said...

Katy, This is such a wonderful letter! He is learning so many things out there on the field. Most of all, he is developing his character!

Leigh said...

What a sweet letter to an even sweeter boy. We can't wait to see you guys. I am going to share this with your brother. You will probably make him cry ...again ;-) (Sorry for outing you honey.)

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