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Friday, May 19, 2017

A Time for Every (Baseball) Season

If you count fall and spring seasons and consider them spread out among all three of my boys, I figure I've sat in the bleachers for approximately sixty baseball seasons.

And in the past several weeks, as I've been away from this blog, I've been adamant that I do everything possible not to miss a single inning of the final season for Joe, who is a senior this year. You might say that this has made my time at the games a little more. . .um. . . let's see. . . what's the word?

Intense? Emotional? Downright heart-wrenching?

This season we've had some victories and defeats as usually happens in baseball. And most mature, reasonable people who are not trying to grip tightly to time to make it slow down understand that.  We try to tell our kids that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains. That losses teach us lessons that wins cannot and build our character and perseverance.

Do you know what losses also do sometimes? If you happen to be a baseball mom that on occasion might tend toward hating losing more than she likes winning and also, has a penchant for taking a game just a tad more seriously than necessary? In that case, a loss just might make you consume a not-at-all-small tupperware container of macaroni and cheese and a not-at-all small glass of wine at 10:00 at night on a Monday.

Hypothetical mom. I know no one like that.

The other night we lost to our crosstown rival school in the last game of the regular season. And I do mean "we" even though I am neither a player nor a coach. Because it's quite possible that the defeat was a direct result of my sitting in the wrong place in the bleachers or crossing my legs in the top of the inning as opposed to the bottom of the inning. Also it is highly likely that I wore the wrong earrings or underwear or something completely irresponsible like that.

This is what baseball fans do. They become insanely superstitious. If you've been here before you might remember this post about a certain Little League coach's lucky shorts. I've often tried to pass myself off as above this nonsense. In fact, each time I am on my way to a game, I completely intend to be rational and focused on the game and not on any sort of banana-sandwich-crazy-pants ritual.

Incidentally, the Lovely and Talented Mrs. C. - who has been part of my baseball posse for close to a decade - is also The Reasonable and Sane Mrs. C. in the great majority of her life. The exception would be during baseball games.

She sat next to me during that rivalry game. There were thoughts about putting our hoods up on our heads or maybe just one of us putting our hood up to help the mojo.  There is always thought given to the importance of where we position ourselves in the bleachers or if we must, for the good of the team, endure standing near the fence. Perhaps we should lean forward in our chair as opposed to resting against the chair back? At one point when "we" were trying to get the go ahead run in to break the 3-3 tie, she decided she should watch the rest of the game while covering one eye. I think we got a runner on base at that point, so for a quite awhile it was clear that she would be watching the last innings only with her left eye.

This led to us singing numerous TLC songs during the game including Waterfalls, Creep and a stirring rendition of (I don't want) No Scrubs. Also, there was a moment of silence for Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. #RIP.

We're totally normal.

When I am being logical and mature and highly annoying, I argue against all of this bunk which is what I did Monday afternoon. While in the kitchen getting ready to leave for the game, I said something along the lines of really wanting to win (or perhaps I might have used the word "crush". I can't really confirm or deny that.) Steve commented that that would surely anger the "baseball gods" and I immediately dismissed him as ridiculous. It's possible at that point that I got on a soapbox about superstitions like that taking away from believing in the skill and hard work of the players. I'm pretty sure I threw in terms like  "monotheism" and a sarcastic suggestion that if we were going to talk like that maybe we should just build a golden calf or something.

(Listen, he asked me to marry him. I didn't ask myself. He has to live with his choice.)

In the end, you'll be shocked to know that none of our rituals worked and in the bottom of the 7th the tie was broken and we lost 4-3.

Thus, commenced my effort to eat and drink all my feelings and send numerous depressing and angry texts to my baseball mom posse.

I'm not sure what your pastor or therapist tells you about how to deal with disappointment. But I'm going to guess that the above are not on a suggested list of good coping mechanisms. Because even if you get a good night's sleep and imagine that everything will look better in the morning, when you wake up you might look in the mirror to find this staring back at you.

The good news is that we have a rematch tonight in the first round of the playoffs. The winning team will move on to play again and the losing team will see their baseball season end. And for me, if that happens it will be the last time I see Joe as a player on the baseball field. And the thing is that no matter who wins, there will be friends of mine on both sides who might see their kiddos play baseball for the last time ever. There will be tears and there will be images of kids who were t-ball players exactly five minutes ago dancing in their mama's heads. I know that my friends on the other side of the fence will be praying as hard as I will that God will see fit to extend this final season to at least one more game.

I'm hoping for more games. And I intend to be reasonable, calm and quiet this evening. I will know that the Lord works all things out for good. I will know that His timing is perfect. That He has all of these boys in the palm of His hand. And I will enjoy the game with the utmost trust that everything will happen as it should. That things end when they are supposed to end. And that new beginnings and the vast possibilities of a young man's story waiting to written are blessings of immeasurable worth.

And also, I will go out to Party City today to see if I can find one of those pirate costume eye patches for The Lovely and Talented Mrs. C. to wear over her left eye because we clearly got it wrong. She should have watched out of her right eye.


"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

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