whisper words of wisdom

I’m running low on things to say in situations where I’m pretty much forced to say something but have nothing to work with. Everyone reading this will know exactly what I mean although many won’t admit to it.

My situation involves baseball. Not major league or little league, but baseball for fourteen year olds. Unfortunately, they are not natural athletes and the scores show it. 22-1, 25-3, 20 -1..ouch.

I’m a sports mom, or at least I was in my past life. My sons ran CC in the Fall, wrestled year round, and pole vaulted in the Spring. At wrestling, they were Champions. I’m not ashamed to brag on it. My younger son was three time Country and Division Champ and went to States a couple times. I was lucky enough to be along for the ride. But at CC and pole vaulting…eh, not so good. So I know the ways to say “good effort”, “way to try” , “stay strong”. I can say those things with motherly love and mean them every time.
Now, we’re talking baseball and a team that’s not so good. They regularly lose and the scores are usually 23+ – 1 or 2 by the time the game is called and it is usually called. “You’ll get them next time” just isn’t cutting it anymore.

My heart goes out to the kids whose seasons don’t involve a trophy or a First Place banner. They’re what sports are all about. They sign up and give their best year after year. I’ve followed this small group of kids for many years now. Not my kiddo but close enough to be my own in a Brady Bunch kind of way. Not gifted athletes, entheusiastic at the beginning of the season, somewhat beaten down by the end. Half the kids they joined t-ball years ago with have moved on and up to better leagues and school teams.
These kids, a Charlie Brown gang, are happy where they are. They play because they love the sport. They rotate positions and know each other well. They probably will not play any more years, the standards go up when you hit HS.
Their parents gamely show up in team colors and cheer. We shake our heads when our boys and girl strike out or miss a pop fly the might’ve gotten caught if it’d only fallen a half a foot to the left.
We cheer on base hits, go nutty over runs, and laugh with the kids when two outfielders run into each other in a Sports Center moment. You should hear us when the pitcher strike out the opposing batters. The noise echos for miles and our smiles stretch just as far.
Sure the other teams are better, the other parents more rabid, the other practices more hard core but I doubt they enjoy every triumph as much. This team has it’s stars but everyone matters and the coaches are there with a back pat or high five when it’s needed and we spectators try to cover the rest. I worry about running out of things to say as the season winds down but writing this now it occurs to me that all I need to say is “good job” and “great effort” and “I’m proud of the way that you tried”. Those are the perfect things to say because baseball is about winning but more than that it’s about loving the game and while these kids may not win on the score board when it comes to loving the game there are no greater Champions anywhere.


7 comments on “whisper words of wisdom

  1. Hey Tia,
    Sports can be one of the greatest and worst experiences of a kid’s life. And for a parent as well. I always say, the worst thing about being a parent is other parents.
    (Present company excluded of course!)

    But yes, baseball games can be brutal, especially if your coach is trying hard to play everyone in all positions, etc. Often the opposing coaches only pitch their best players and many of their players hardly ever play.

    And for many kids, little league and Babe Ruth leagues will be the only time they play. And for those kids, the thrill might even be greater than for the kids who go on to play high school and college ball.

    Either way, it’s a challenge for parents(me) to find inspiring things to say after a good beating.

    But we MUST persevere!! 🙂
    Bring Back Pluto
    “ONE of THE GUYS”

    • when it comes to coaches they’re either good, great, or horrible. the good ones teach the basics and kind of keep the kids focused. A good one can have a decent team and put out a decent season with little fuss or muss. A great coach knows his kids, knows how to encourage and push can take a team of kids vwith little or no natural ability and after a season with no wins, make them feeling like winners, a bad coach can take that same team and crush their spirit. Unfortunately we have too many of the last and not enough of the first two.

      I love my sons. I love what they accomplished ad I was beyond myself with pride when they accomplished the best they could do. I got to see one son take his wrestling as far as States, twice. But I also clapped just as long and hard, and cried just as many tears of pride when one of their teammates got that one win and stood there hand raised up beaming with self confidence and pride.

      It isn’t just the winners who make a sport, it’s the kids who may only win once or twice and who savor every moment when they do.

  2. 🙂 nice article…win or loss what is important they enjoyed the game, they worked as a team…

  3. I’m a big believer in losing and learning to lose. It’s one of the most valuable lessons in life. Parents drive their kids crazy with the winning thing. I coached gymnastics for a long time and nothing made me sadder than seeing the girls being harassed by their parents for not being the best. I used to tell my athletes that failure is what gymnastics is all about. You have to do every skill a thousand times before you even begin to get it right. Be determined, stick with it, have a sense of humor and you’ll improve beyond your wildest dreams. You may never go to the Olympics but you’ll get your fair share of medals and victories.

  4. Great post. It reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt’s words, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”

  5. You should be league commissioner. Phew–nice article. I’ve been on both kinds of teams–no losses/ no wins–and so has our son. The level of frustration kids feel when they lose is definitely a reflection of the coaches and parents. Your perspective wins the day. Well done.

  6. I think these kids are more suited for real life because when they grow up, they are less likely to give up when the going gets rough because they will have already learned the important lesson: What matters is that you always, always get back up!

    Great post. I’m glad I called us all losers 😉

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