Every parent has been there. That moment when you see your child not being successful at something you know they desperately want to be successful in. You have seen their shoulders roll forward, the head drop. Their body screams defeated. It is a horrible place to be.
Last night was the first game of the playoffs for Sam’s baseball team. My son was pumped up! During dinner, he visualized all the what-ifs and the could be’s for the game. He has had a GREAT season. He continually makes plays at first and has become a hitter. He was right to expect good things. However, the first inning did not go as he had planned. He missed a wild throw from third to first and didn’t make the out. Later that same inning, the ball that was hit to first rolled past and continued on to the outfield allowing the runner to get a double. Frustrating? Oh, yeah. At the end of the inning, he walked back to the dugout and wilted like a flower.
We all have these moments. We have to make a choice. Do we give up and stay married to our failure or do we choose to say, “Yeah, that sucked. But that’s not who I am.” Last year at this time, I can tell you which choice Sam would have made. The easy choice. “Hello, Failure. Let’s hang out together for the rest of the night and maybe into tomorrow.”
But last night, I realized my son had grown more than just in height this past year. Something happened on that bench in the dugout before he got up to bat. He walked out to bat with his head up, determined–not resigned. And he smacked that ball to the outfield. Again and again last night he hit the ball, made the plays, pitched the strikes. He helped take the team to victory and Game 2 of the playoffs.
He ended up having the game he imagined at dinner. It was wonderful to watch. I was proud every time his bat sent the ball to the outfield, every time his throw was straight and true, every time his glove caught the throw. But I was most proud in his determination and attitude. Baseball is a great game. Playing it has brought Sam joy, friends, and skills. And perhaps, it has prepared him for the game of life.