I am packing again for the umpteenth time for the family to travel to an out-of-town sports tournament. There will be umpteen more tournaments, both out-of-town and out-of-state, that lie ahead. As I ponder and prepare, I decided to get some things off my chest. What follows is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly about our family’s commitment to years of travel ball.
Confession #1: I don’t like sports. I really don’t and never have. I don’t see the sense of mature and sane human beings wasting energy and money chasing some ball around a field. There doesn’t seem to be a point to it of any substance. Is it that important to say “our team won”? Really?
Confession #2: Of all the sports there are, baseball is the most boring for me. There is not a time limit to the game. Some of them go on for hours, literally! Most of the time spent in the game is uneventful. Being on the spectator end of it, I liken it to watching grass grow. From the little league fielder’s perspective, the time spent waiting for a ball to arrive in the outfield could be better spent “picking daisies.”
Confession #3: Our Visa card is close to being maxed-out. Honestly, the costs are phenomenal! We are only a one-income family. There are team fees, uniform fees, travel and lodging fees, food, and equipment. We’ve started a new season already and last season’s expenses for a baseball trip to New York are still part of the credit card balance.
Confession #4: My son and husband live, eat, drink, and breathe baseball. If I even tried to stop it, World War III would erupt. For now, this is the purpose of their lives.
Confession #5: My son misses a lot of school. Thank goodness he is a bright student. He knows that his future travel team career depends on him keeping his grades up. He makes the work up quickly and has remained on the honor roll at junior high for each quarter.
Confession #6: He will most likely never even play in the minor leagues. At some level I think my husband knows that. But my son doesn’t entertain that notion for even a second. In his mind, he will be the next Buster Posey. But you better be sure, that I’m not going to steal that dream from him. No sir, this life is all about dreaming big.
Confession #7: My son is really good. No I really mean it, as an objective spectator. (Can any mom be objective, really?) He is a catcher and loves being in the action. He is fun to watch because he plays with his whole heart and soul. Anytime a cleat is planted into his arm or his face is planted into the fence, he feels it is a small price to pay in order to protect the plate or catch the ball.
Confession #8: It is a positive place to put his energy. The purpose of my life, for the time-being, is to get through the teenage years as positively as possible. It gives my son a feeling of accomplishment and success. During those difficult teenage transitions, it is important that he has a feeling of self-confidence and stay out of trouble.
Confession #9: I cheer pretty loudly now and then. Our favorite spot to watch the game is right behind home plate. (Imagine that.) Even though I’m probably the least vocal mother there, I have my moments. The older these kids get the better athletes they become. That makes for some pretty intense plays.
Confession #10: I am learning to score a baseball game. No, really, it’s true. It shows my son that I do care enough about him to learn more about the sport. It also helps to keep the games moving more quickly for me because I’m engaged in the process. It also helps me remember some of the key plays of the game so that I can contribute intelligently to the “after game” dialogue with my husband and son.
So, as I again collect the bottles of soap and shampoo, and arrange for mail to be picked up and drop off the key to the neighbors, I put a smile on my face. I get to spend 9 hours in a car catching up on my favorite books. I certainly won’t be cooking for the next few days. I get to leave the cold weather of the North and bask under a Southern sun. There are worse ways to spend a week-end.