Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Second Inning

Dear Owen,
I know you’re disappointed that you didn’t move up from instructional league baseball to the minor league. Disappointment stinks at any age. I just hope you don’t let it lead to discouragement.
            You were so fired up last Tuesday for baseball season to start. You were obviously having a great time throwing the ball around with your friends. And when the coach asked you to show up on Saturday to try out for minors, you were so excited you begged me to leave early. It was the very first time in the four years you’ve been involved in organized sports we arrived someplace early.
            I don’t want you to lose that. That passion, that enthusiasm. That is the stuff that drives us to reach higher and do better. Nurture that and you’ll get better and better. Anything you can bring that sort of energy to—baseball, soccer, music, or those phenomenal lego creations you build will be better because of it. You had that on Saturday. Don’t let discouragement put your fire out.
            In your disappointment Monday night, you asked me if you had to play instructional. You asked if you could just practice on your own and try-out again for the minors next year. I think you’re nervous or embarrassed about being one of the older kids on the team. I don’t want to be the kind of parent who makes her children do something that they don’t want to do (except for eating your vegetables, getting your shots, and doing your homework—I will continue to make you do those things). But I think sitting out the season would be a mistake.
            First of all, you’ve already signed up. If you don’t play, your team will be without your two years of experience. Sure you weren’t ready to move up to minors, it doesn’t mean you don’t have something to offer your team. It would be a loss for them if you don’t play. Sticking to it will demonstrate your dedication to the game and your good sportsmanship. A coach that values those things is a coach you want to work with.
            Second, you’ll get to play with your brother. I’ve never in my life seen two people be as good at being brothers as you two are. This is the first time you’ve been assigned to the same team in any sport. You and James are so different and so complimentary. I think you’d be amazing team mates.
            Third, you could just practice at home. You’ll probably improve your throwing, catching, and hitting. But you won’t learn how to be a part of a team. You won’t get to see your friends because they’ll all be at practice. You won’t experience the excitement of playing a game. You won’t develop the kind of think-on-your-feet skills you get during a game. There simply is no substitute for playing if you want to improve.
            Finally, it’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun and you certainly looked like you were having fun last week. So, do you have to play instructional? No. Of course not. But I don’t think you’ll enjoy the game as much from the bleachers. I support you no matter what you decide.
            All my love, Mom