When your child begins playing a sport, you never realize how intertwined our lives will become with the sport. My son has played baseball since he was four. He started baseball as a little boy who would watch the ball roll right past him in the field as though he was a spectator. He would have the look of who is supposed to get that ball? As he has grown, so have his skills, he no longer watches the ball roll by, he attacks it. He plays his heart out at every practice and game. At the same time, I feel as though I am part of him playing the game, growing with him. I am part of his celebrations and crying inside with his failures. Baseball is a main part of our life, starting in the spring until the end of July every year. Over the past six years we have lovingly become part of a “baseball family.” Our baseball family is our second family; you are with them at least five days a week at the field. Then there are the sleepovers, pool parties, and fun outings. They are the people who make sitting through the games that you are losing a 17-0 tolerable and the people you want to be with when they clinch the big win. They are family.
This year my son is starting a new adventure with a new travel baseball team. He is one of two kids that are new to this team. I can only imagine his excitement, fear and anxiety. He definitely has the skill and ability to enhance this team. The coaches have been amazingly kind, caring and encouraging. All the things that a mom and social worker love to see and hear. The head coach happens to be a teacher and he is constantly talking about how they are not there “YET.” Again, as a mom and social worker, I am loving the growth mindset they are promoting. The kids are welcoming and encouraging to my son and all of the kids on the team are supportive of each other. At this point, definitely better than expected.
Each week, I am feeling the same feelings that he is having, excitement, fear and anxiety. But why? So many thoughts run constantly through my head, will they accept him? Will they understand him like his other coaches? Will he make friends? Will they like me? Will they accept me? Will I make friends? Wait.
When did the tables turn, how did it become about me? Was it when he was trying out, that I was sizing up what I was in for? When looking for a new team, you are focusing on what will be the best fit for your child as a young athlete. You want to make sure that the coach will be supportive and nurturing. Well, I found that. Thinking about his first team, they weren’t just my son’s baseball family, they were mine too!
Sitting at the first practice is when it became real. Watching my son quietly watch his new team mates and me sitting by myself. Thinking about how I would be losing MY baseball family. I wonder if I could ever feel the same about our “new” baseball family. I love my first “baseball family,” I can’t imagine our first games without them – the first practice was hard enough. How could they ever be replaced? Simply stated, they can never be replaced. We watched out kids grow into the young athletes they are now. I miss my friends at every practice, it feels different. Now “we” have to figure out our place on this team, without losing our “first” baseball family.