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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Keepin' It Real in the World of Sports Parents

We, sports parents, certainly love to write of home runs, double plays, pitching shutouts and championships. I am guilty of posting photos of smiling, fist pumping, victorious champions. It is the rare occasion that we see a proud parent post the photo of the strike out, the error or the fallen face of the runner-up.  More often than I send a video of a base hit to the grandparents, I'll delete a video that started out promising and ended in a fly out. 

As I've pointed out, winning is fun and losing, while providing wonderful lessons, just is not.  While watching the disappointed faces and the "woe is me" body language of my children throughout the season (the lovely and talented Mrs. C. refers to "forty pound shoulders"), I am consistently reminded that baseball is full of failure. Just chock full of it. The potential for a mental mistake is ridiculously high in this game, even for the professionals. This aspect of the game is eloquently defined by the battle-worn catcher, Mike Schwartz, leader of a fictional college baseball team in the book The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach which I recently finished. So in the interest of keeping it real, I'm keeping this in mind as my children fight through this unforgiving sport and as I share some photos that you won't see on too many Facebook pages.

"Baseball, in its quiet way, was an extravagantly harrowing game. Football, basketball, hockey, lacrosse - these were melee sports. You could make yourself useful by hustling and scrapping more than the other guy. You could redeem yourself through sheer desire. But baseball was different.  Schwartz thought of it as Homeric - not scrum but a series of isolated contests. Batter versus pitcher, fielder versus ball. You couldn't storm around, snorting and slapping people, the way Schwartz did while playing football. You stood and waited and tried to still your mind. When your moment came, you had to be ready, because if you (screwed) up, everyone would know whose fault it was.  What other sport not only kept a stat as cruel as the error, but posted it on the scoreboard for everyone to see?"

Y'all have a great day now!
Debbie Downer

Oh and PS:  THIS is an excellent article that Joe's coach sent out last week. Good reminders for parents as they drive home from games that result in faces like my children display in these photos.  Really, really important reminders.  

And PPS: Here's hoping we have very few of these faces tonight as we resume our Little League Championship game in Inning 2. If you are adept at Anti-Rain Dances, I would so appreciate it.  Thanks.

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