Thursday, February 26, 2009

bittersweet redemption

an act of redeeming or the state of being redeemed; deliverance.

There comes a point when your son starts playing baseball at the age of four or five that you start dreaming of him playing for high school someday. As the years go on you see a natural athlete blossom and you're almost assured that your dreams will be fulfilled his freshman year. He not only plays baseball proving his athletic abilities, but also basketball, soccer and flag football. Soccer would be his next favorite sport to play, and if baseball didn't seem to be a calling than soccer would surely fit the bill for his needs. Baseball is in his heart. He loves the Dodgers. He loves the game.

In 1998 LB started playing baseball. He never played teeball, as it wasn't an option on the base where we were living at the time. They offered coach pitch, so Big B took the reins and started up a team with me in tow as the team mom. Even though I often dreamed that LB would play high school ball someday there were often times that I didn't think he'd ever play again. If you have small children you might know how stubborn they can be when they do not want to do something! No way, no uh! I guess that's a memory I can look back on with some pride in our parenting abilities knowing we made him stick it out, not letting him quit.

Last year, his freshman year in high school, my dreams were shattered in an instant as we refreshed the school website page the team roster was being uploaded onto. Tryouts had been extended because weather last year around this time was bad, so we were already exhausted. That last night after we picked LB up we headed over to Subway for a quick bite to eat and then headed home. We knew that in the time we'd taken to eat and go home that they might have started to enter the roster online so we checked. The varsity team had already been picked and there was no chance he was going to be on it anyway so we went directly to the JV page. Sure enough, there were a couple of names. We kept refreshing and as we got closer to our name alphabetically, the anticipation grew. If you haven't figured it out by now I am a pretty emotional person. At this point I'm pretty much in panic mode. Then it happens. The kids name who would be after ours shows up and I immediately burst into tears. Yeah, not good. Not good for LB, the kid who's trying to put up a brave front, and not let this utter disappointment get to him. But of course his freak of a mother is well, freaking out. Oopsy. I sorry.

We can look back and laugh about it now. Wholeheartedly.

Cuz, guess what!? Tryouts ended yesterday, after the regularly scheduled three days of cold, but sunny weather. I went and picked him up and we came home. This year we're exhausted, but for other reasons. Me? Well...because I'm a nursing student for gosh sakes! The guys? Well, because they're...well, guys. So we ordered Dominos.

Big B and AW were upstairs rearranging AW's room to accomodate the larger than life drum set, and LB and I were cruising Facebook as we were awaiting our gourmet cuisine.

While on Facebook I had updated my status and commentary ensued:
status: waiting on pins and needles
friend: It's more comfortable to wait on the couch
me: Baseball tryouts were the past three days and we're waiting on the roster
other friend: They're posting them right now!
me: ..., you made me scream, no lie!

I did. I screamed. Sad, sad, woman. Of course LB and I are rushing to get on the school website, he on one computer and I on the other. This time we go straight for varsity, since it's the first list anyway. And wouldn't you know it there was his name!


So we keep refreshing since the list was somewhat short and although it's alphabetical, it's not being entered as such. The names were being entered any whichaway, ending up alphabetized. He is one of 14 players on the team, and the only sophomore!

Once again I will say it, hard work pays off!

Last year after he didn't make the team, along with his friends who also didn't, we were able to get them all on the same county recreational team. They won the championships! LB also played for our local American Legion post, went to the University of VA summer camp, and played for the non-sanctioned school fall ball team. Basically, he played baseball all year long last year. He really must have improved in his skills, more than he would admit. In fact before yesterday, if you asked him he probably would've said he sucks at baseball. Go figure.

Like I said, he's the only sophomore that made the varsity team. So after the elation (instead of instant tears it was instant delirious laughter from me of which the guys had to tell me to shut up) wore off we kept refreshing the varsity page and once we knew the roster was complete we went to the JV page. We saw the names added, at random as the varsity had been, yet still alphabetically. As your kids grow and bring friends home you come to care for some of their friends. They become like surrogate children. All but two of the boys who didn't make the team last year, did make the team(s)this year. It's sad for both, but one especially and anyone's heart would break knowing the heart this kid has for the game.

Redemption is bittersweet.

I feel the greatest pride for my own son. I did give him the speech about going in to school today just like anyday, and to not let his head swell, but to remain humble. I can't help but feel sad for the other boy, who is like a son to me, who has to go in to school today with a broken heart and shattered dreams.