Monday, May 2, 2011
Lessons from Little League
I would consider myself a baseball fan. I don't mind watching it on tv but I really like going to the game ... the crowds, the noise, the food, the organ music (seriously!). The Braves were always my favorite team until my younger brother started playing. He's the reason I started biting my nails. Okay, probably not, but I would get so nervous at his games. I just wanted him to win so bad. I wanted him to have the biggest hit, to be the fastest runner, to catch the ball every time. Thankfully, he did not disappoint, and proved to have talent with any sport he chose. But of course, there were times that his team didn't win, that he struck out, and that he let the ball get past him. Looking back, I can see that God was preparing me to be them mom of a little boy, #17 Will Schloss.
Now, just in case you don't know, 6 year olds play "machine pitch" which is so totally different from "t-ball" BECAUSE you aren't guaranteed a hit - ever! This thought did not occur to me until the first time Will got up to bat, and oh boy, all of those feelings of a 10 year old girl watching her little brother play came back x10! Will loves to play and I love to cheer him on. Here are a few things I've learned from our first season in Little League:
1. I am not in charge. What??? I do not understand all of the rules and calls they make in Little League and I'm pretty sure it would not help to read the rule book.
2. You can never have enough team paraphernalia. Hmm, how can I make this clear? When we ordered WT's uniform they had an option to order a mom and dad shirt with your child's # on the back. Oh cute, I thought. At the first game, every other mom had on a team shirt, hat, and flip flops. Not to mention they were sitting on a team chair with a team blanket over their lap and sipping their water bottle in a team koozie. I will be more prepared next year!
3. The volume of your yelling does NOT correspond with how fast your child runs.
4. Don't change seats in the middle of the game. Your child does know where you are sitting and if he cannot find you because you've moved (say to talk to another mom, gasp!) he will miss any balls hit his way until he finds you again.
5. Snacks are important. Don't forget them when it's your turn and only bring the good stuff ... apples and veggie sticks are apparently not welcome. I could write another post on the importance of snacks for the child who is NOT playing but is sitting in the stands for the third time this week and can't pick out her Bubba on the field because of his hat. Let's just say snacks prevent meltdowns. They are THAT important!
6. Be nice to the coach's wife. I'm pretty sure this one correlates directly with how many laps the kids will run at the next practice. She also controls the snack schedule (see #5).
7. Learning to be a part of a team is invaluable. Will has learned so much about strengths and weaknesses and how we can compliment one another. A lesson that I don't think is learned well by lecture.
8. Just go ahead and expect your child to dig in the dirt or twirl until he makes himself so dizzy that he falls down while playing in the outfield. At this stage, not very many balls make it that far and he really can't hear you yelling his name or hear the coach yelling that they're going to make him wear a pink tu-tu if he doesn't stop dancing. In defense of my son (baseball does bring out a whole Mama with a capital "M" thing in you!), he has stopped or caught most every ball that was hit to him while he was digging or dancing in the outfield.
9. During baseball season, you should ALWAYS have a blanket, toys for the 2 year old, fold out chairs, snacks and gatorade in your car. You just never know when the coach might decide those boys need a little more practice ... or a few more laps.
10. You can never cheer loud enough. Okay, don't be obnoxious like some of the mom's from the OTHER teams. But, at the end of the day, my boy is giving it all he's got and I'm so proud of him. "C'mon Will, you got this!" "That's my boy!" "Don't worry, we'll get it next time!" "Way to go, son!" and my favorite thing that Will's coach says "Get the junk out of your trunk and RUN!"
Just a side note, I've not bitten my nails once this season. I finally gave that up after Matt finished high school football. If Will plays football, the nail biting will most likely return!