At one time in my life, softball WAS my life. I loved everything about the game: the fielding, the batting, the sliding, the uniforms, giving my coaches gray hairs with the frequency that I stole bases, and most of all, the many, many friends I had because of the game. But it wasn't until this year, watching my kids play ball, that I really understood just how invested my parents were during my playing days.
My mom once told me a story about how the first summer that they didn't have any of my games to go to anymore, she and my dad walked the dog down to the softball fields to watch a random game just because they missed being there. My kids will play their last games of the season tomorrow night. And while I will be glad for life to slow down a little bit, I am really going to miss watching them play.
Braden is six and in his last year of Tball. Lauren is 8 and in her last year of coach-pitch softball.
In Braden's league, the coach pitches to them several times, and if they can't hit it, they then use the tee. Last year Braden couldn't hit the pitches to save his life, but this year he hasn't used the tee at all, and Jason has started pitching the ball faster and faster to him. He has become such a great little ball player that he actually got asked to sub on a team a league up from tball! And let me tell you, he really held his own!
But there is a down side to Braden being such a great ball player: he's in Tball. If you've never watched a tball game, you simply must. It has got to be the funniest sport to watch. For example, during the last game that Braden had his team was out in the field. Braden was playing 2nd base, was down and ready, watching the batter. His teammates were doing everything BUT getting ready: twirling, playing in the dirt, watching the sky, picking their noses. His "coach" (I use that term loosely because she doesn't really coach them) yells out for them to be ready to throw it to first base. The ball is hit to the cute little girl playing third, who has to stop twirling ballerina-style long enough to field the ball, bobbles it all around, seemingly not knowing what to do with it. And then all I can hear is my boy yelling at her, "Throw it to first! Throw it to first! Throw it to first!" His voice gets louder and more frustrated each time he yells it, going from being a helpful teammate to being downright disgusted with her existence. She eventually throws it to first as best she can, overthrowing it of course, and Braden throws his hands up in the air like, "I give up." So funny. I wanted to tell him that I felt his pain. LOL It's a good thing he will move up next year.
And then there's Lauren. I have been so excited for Lauren to play softball because I loved the sport so much. But part of me is very worried that she will never really be quite the player I've been hoping for. LOL Don't get me wrong, she is quite good! She has an arm on her that 11 year old boys have commented on when they've watched her throw, she fields hard hit balls like they were nothing, and her hitting has improved so much this summer that other parents have commented to me about what a good little player she is. But it's always like her little mind is somewhere else. In the clouds, daydreaming about who knows what. In the dirt, drawing with the tip of her cleats. Last game she was last batter and after rounding third to go to home all the players on the field started heading to their dugout, and Lauren just fell right into step with them...heading for their dugout! Not HER dugout....THEIRS! "Lauren!!", we called. "That's the wrong dugout!" She just smiled and waved and continued on. Finally you could see her figure it out, the "oops" registering on her face. She smiled and laughed and headed to her dugout. Sure, both teams were wearing red uniforms, but seriously?! LOL Oh how I love that girl.
It's fun to watch them play different sports, and wonder just what sport they are going to remember as fondly as I remember my softball days. Who knows, maybe in 10-12 years when my kids have left the nest, Jason and I will be walking the dog down to the ball fields to catch a game and reminisce.