Only one Terror is taking part in baseball this year. Only one. As much as I am enjoying the lack of juggling practices, it is breaking my heart.
I am sure it comes as no surprise that the Rookie is not taking part in baseball this year. It has been a while since he has willingly spent time on a baseball diamond. Not his speed. Not his style. Apparently he has decided if there is no risk of concussion, it isn’t worth it.
The O Man was always a “sure, I’ll play baseball” guy. It never really got him excited. This year, he has decided that he wants to concentrate on his shooting. After not being able to shoot little orange disks out of the sky because of basketball, which he LOVES, he wasn’t about to risk missing time at the range for something as bland as baseball.
J couldn’t wait for baseball to start. He is spending a lot of time riding the outfield (gotta pay your dues), but he has pitched a few innings and it showing great improvement in his base running skills. He holds on a fly ball, and runs on anything with two outs. You wouldn’t think that would be such a big deal, but just ask any coach and they will do a headslap when you talk about base running. Watching him do it well without someone yelling at him brings tears of pride to my eyes.
He also seems to have given up his extreme and rather perplexing love of bunting. His first at-bat he squared off to bunt. I gave a giant eye roll and thought I would have to live through another season of him striking out on fouls, when to my delight the Coach barked at him, did some signs (yes, he is on a fancy team with signs now), and then J started to swing away. He has had some impressive hits which has luckily made him even more excited about swinging the bat. Its good he has the ability to bunt in his back pocket, but outfield singles are easier on his Mom.
There has been a major shift in the way J plays baseball that took me a little while to truly see. J now plays for himself. Baseball is his sport, the way football is now the Rookie’s. It is where his heart is. It is what he loves to do.
There was a moment last year where J was charging towards home plate. He slid, beat the tag, and was called out. Our side of the bleachers went crazy (I say that to show that it wasn’t just me who thought it was a lousy call). J came off the field in tears, disappointed in the call and probably himself. I wouldn’t know, because that moment happened. The moment where it was more important that the team commiserate with him. The moment where anything his mother said was going to be pointless and disregarded. He didn’t want my opinion and he didn’t need my reassurances. Baseball now belonged to him. He would deal with the disappointment himself. I sat on the bleachers amazed that he was maturing before my eyes, and a little wistful that he had taken another (necessary) step away from me.
Since that “moment” happened, I no longer have to hope J will be a good baseball player… He intends to be a great one.
I still want to throw up when he pitches, but I can see that he has confidence in his skills. He can’t wait to get out there and pitch. He dares the opposing pitcher to try and pick him off. He wants to be the one catching the fly ball for the last out, instead of the kid murmuring don’t hit it to me, don’t hit it to me. The game, with all its victories and failures, now belongs to him.