Archives for posts with tag: Baseball

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Wordless Wednesday

baseball

A baseball.

It is just a ball a little over 3 inches in diameter that weighs a little over 5 ounces.  The boys of summer swoop low to grab it, hurl it with all their might at velocities that can near 100 miles per hour, and swing for the fences while keeping their eye on this little ball with hopes of blasting it out of the park.  Yep, this little ball is a symbol of a lot of things for a lot of people.

For me?  As a mom who has sit on the stands, in the bleachers, on the grass, in the car for countless practices and games for over 20 years, (the time when my oldest started playing t-ball) , this little ball has been a symbol for me of a lot of blood, sweat, and tears….and the growth, passion, and inspiration that resulted from all of the blood, sweat, and tears. It’s a symbol of teamwork, and dedication.  It’s a symbol of patience for there’s a heck of a lot of waiting in this game!  It’s a symbol of courage, for it takes a lot of courage to step up to the plate time after time, with your eye on the ball but every one else’s eye on you and whether or not you can hit that little 3 inch ball.  There are large doses of cheers and jeers that players endure. There are lots of victories and lots of defeats, all in a single game, let alone a season or a baseball ‘career’.  Kind of like life, I’d say!

Yes, am so thankful for this little white (usually dust-covered) ball with red-stitching that inspires and brings out so much passion in so many on all sides of the field.  I’m thankful for the years and years of watching it being thrown, bunted, hurled, dropped, missed, and hit out of the park. I’m thankful for the muscles and character and tenacity that this little ball helped bring out in my kids, and how this little ball brought so many sweet families together.  I’m thankful for the lessons learned on all sides of the field and for the way it made so many memories for my friends and family. This little ball will always be a symbol to me of so many things that are good and fun and true in a boy’s life and in the lives of those who cheer him on…on and off the field.

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sunsetbaseball

So this photo made me cry.  It just did.  Not because of the beauty of the sunset.  Not because of the sihouette of the crowd watching yet another home high school baseball game. (And not because I was sad to be at the game!) I had taken the photo at a home baseball game and it wasn’t at all emotional for me when I took it.  I just thought the sunset was beautiful. But when I looked at it tonight, it was another story.

The tears just rolled down my cheeks because this photo was so symbolic for me.  The other night before the last home baseball game for a great group of kids, I, along with all the other moms and dads of seniors, stood proudly on the field with their sons, and celebrated their contribution to the team.  Did you pick up on the word last?  It was their last home baseball game.

So that sunset over the baseball field with the beautiful storm clouds in the background?  It feels so incredibly symbolic, because the sun is kind of setting on this season of our lives.  And boy, those tears are rolling because it’s been a precious, precious time.   I’ve loved, loved, loved, watching my number 5  third baseman play.  There’ve been moments of glory, moments of sheer frustration and disappointment (quite a few not so fun ‘storm clouds’!), moments of watching a team player that made me about bust with pride.  There have been moments when I sacrificed doing a lot of other things to quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, sit on the sidelines and cheer on the players, and my number 5.  There have been sweet memories made with family and friends of the team, as we’ve all watched our boys grow up together.  And now we are moving on to  this next phase of encouraging, equipping, and helping them to find their way as men.

I’m so very thankful for these little milestones in life, for they are moments when we realize how precious our time is.  When we see something passing, we are aware of how it impacted us, for there’s a void where it once was. A beautiful thing though is that even though there’s a void, there are some things that time and space and distance could never take away.

The memories, the milestones, the victories and the lessons learned will stay, (along with a lot of game balls, plaques, jerseys, and weathered mitts!)  But one thing will remain true on the field and off the field—the cheers that come when a player makes it to Home plate. Whether it was a cake walk of a home run over the fence, or an excruciating, strategy filled running of the bases with slips and slides and outs, the cheers are loud when the player’s cleats find their way to home base. That won’t change.  Whatever field he’s on, no matter how difficult or easy the journey, no matter how near or far my number five travels, I will always cheer and celebrate when he finds his way back Home.

Blessings ~

Heather

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courage

Living life takes courage.  Period.  It just does.

And I see examples of courage everyday.  I see them at home, at work, in the community.  And a few nights a week in the Spring?  I see them on the baseball field.

When the bases are loaded, your team is down by one in a game between rivals that has been anticipated for months, and it’s the last inning? Yep, it takes courage to stand at bat and swing for the fences.

And miss.

But in baseball, you know that’s all part of it.  Someone has to be the last man out.

Last night as we were at a high school baseball game between two talented county team rivals, and our team had it’s last turn to bat.  We were down by one.  It was a high scoring game…11 to 12.  There were two outs, 2 runners on base, and ….my son ……………wasn’t up.  Phew!  Relief.  But….he was up next.  (Yikes.  Prayers flying heavenward…) So if this batter got a hit and made it to the base, it would’ve been the scenario of : team down by one run, 2 outs, bases loaded, last inning, high stakes game, and my son up.  And in that moment, he’d have the chance to be a hero, or the last man out.

Well in this moment?  I had a bit of a self-revelation.  I’m a bit of a wimp.  I didn’t want my son to be the hero or the last man out.  I secretly hoped that the guy in front of him would get the out.  And when he did?  Well, I just felt ashamed of my wimpy lack of courage. I knew that my son…well,  he would’ve boldly stood in that place of hero or last man out.  No my moment of self-revelation was not a proud moment for me at all.  And when I later confessed the scenario to my son, he told me what I already knew…that he wanted to be in that situation.  He wanted to have the chance to be the hero, or last man out. He wanted to have the chance to swing for the fences and to stand in that place of risk, that place of courage.  He wanted to help his team and have some control of the destiny of that game, win or lose.  Team players want to stand in the gap and do their part for the team.  Love that.  (Their moms on the other hand?  Well, that may be a different story…)

And here’s another self-revelation.  I think it’s a whole heck of a lot easier for me to have courage for myself than to watch and endure my kids having to stand in the gap.  It’s so much easier for me to risk and fail, to be ostracized or ridiculed, to be rejected or hurt, than to watch my kids endure the pain and loss that comes with risk, the hurts and aches and growing pains that come with courage. It starts when they’re young.  It’s tough to not reach out and rescue that stumbling toddler to keep him from falling as he learns to walk.  But sometimes what parents may see as ‘helping’ can be providing crutches that only make the growth process harder.  As we grow up with our kids, the arena of what we want to guard or ‘rescue’ our children from changes.  But, cushioning those we love from pain can often be a deterrent to their growth, to their success, to their development of courage.

Facing failure with a good attitude is an incredibly important life skill. When we are afraid to fail, we are afraid period. We may feel that failure defines us or our children.  It so doesn’t. It shapes us, and equips us to learn, rise above, move on.  Those of us who experience failures early learn to rise up and not wrap up our identies in the great successes and failures that we face.  For in life, hopefully, there will be many of both. I’d rather have my child be willing to step up to the plate and strike out, than to not be willing to step up to the plate at all. (Most days, anyway!)

As a mom, that’s one of the lessons I’ve felt is so incredibly important.  To help our kids know that it is so very okay to fail.  Courage means picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying again. (and again, and again, and again). Courage also means not rescuing those we love from situations that demand courage.  That’s the tough part as a parent, but also an incredibly crucial step in the development of courage.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is “Where courage is not, no other virtue survives except by accident”, (Sam Johnson).  Developing courage begins in the little steps of learning to take a step even though we may fall, literally and figuratively.  It continues as we encourage our kids to use their voices, their gifts, their talents even though they may not be appreciated.  It continues as we encourage them to not place their identity in failures faced, but in the way they face them. It continues as we as parents allow them to risk and stand in the gap and wholeheartedly support their desire to swing for the fences when it may mean risking them being the last man out.  It takes courage to encourage courage in our children. And for me?  It takes faith in a God who has a purpose and a plan for us all.  For my children as much as for me.  Tapping into that Truth not only comforts and encourages, but inspires confidence that allows me to risk and fall and rise and keep trying.

Faith and courage go hand in hand.   So, here’s to standing up for what we believe in.  Here’s to living life out loud with the voice that you’ve been given.  We have one life to live, and it’s a gift not just for us, but for those around us. And here’s to encouraging our kids to do the same, no matter how hard it is to watch. So here’s to being willing  to swing for the fences when the bases are loaded and there are two outs. If we are destined to be the last man out, so be it. But, then again,  we just never know when we might bring in the winning run that’s a game changer for us all.

We’ll never know until we try.

P.S. One more thing…. Babe Ruth?  He’s known as one of the all-time best in baseball.  And he struck out  1,330 times. That’s a lot of standing in the gap, swinging for the fences, and missing!  He even held the Major League record for 30 years until Mickey Mantle surpassed it in 1964. But homeruns?  He had 714 homeruns.  So one of the greatest hitters of all time had almost twice as many strike outs as homeruns.  Am guessing that the two go hand in hand.  The success, the failures?  Yes, they go hand in hand. Maybe the thing which holds them together like glue is the courage to rise from failure and stand in success and be willing to do it all over again, knowing that ultimately these are not what define us.  Success doesn’t define.  Failure doesn’t define.  How we face them both, with or without courage?  That shapes and defines and impacts our world, not just for us, but for those in our world, on our team, who are watching to see our next “swing”.

Just a few thoughts from a wimpy mom whose goal is to be a bit more courageous at the next rival game.

Blessings ~

Heather

early

The players come and go.

But the sun rises over that field every morning.

Seasons come.  Some good.

Seasons go.  Some bad.

But the sun rises every morning.

Thankful for that Truth for sure.

The Sun rises every single solitary morning.

Some things are a given.  No matter what kind of season we’re in.

Love that.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/early-bird/

DSCN9147

The blur in the photo?  That’s my son Chase trying to get back to first base as fast as he can.  Not sure what it is about this kid..maybe he just edges off first a bit too much for the pitcher’s comfort zone, but he has to do at least a few dives in the dirt per game.  This one made me laugh when I saw it.  I knew he was moving fast…but didn’t realize it was that fast !  White uniforms are so never white at the end of a game.

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effort

Wordless Wednesday

ww

gwen

Little hands that use new skills

chase playoff (1)Big hearts that ‘leave it all on the field’

josh and ava 2

strong hands that build their world little by little

Austin photographer may 2014insightful eyes that see and appreciate the beauty

Hopeminds that process the world around them and within them

tanner with clown nosepersonalities that do their own thing

siblings

Relationships that are there through it all

Just a few thoughts and glimpses into the ‘humanity’ in my daily world

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High Fives

 Sometimes a high-five says it all.

Proud dads at the State Baseball Tournament in North Carolina

Summer of 2014

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