There's Still No Crying in Baseball

It is hard to believe that it has been almost three years since I wrote There's No Crying in Baseball.

Big Kid is now halfway through his seventh season and it is amazing how much he has changed in that time. Today's double header prompted me to go back and read that entry. He has matured quite a bit in the last few years, but still has a ways to go. What surprised me is that part of what I fretted about still has not materialized. In every season, the boys have always been kind to Big when he gets upset about striking out. I am sure that won't be the case when he gets to middle school, but I am sorry that I did not give his teammates credit. I think they are kind to him because they understand and sometimes they want to cry too when they drop a pop fly or strike out with bases loaded.

In that old entry, I was so concerned with what the other parents thought. That somehow I had dropped the parenting ball (see what I did there) and condoned Big's outbursts. These days, I try not to worry about what others think and instead talk to the coaches and stay plugged in with them, but also talk to Big and parent him privately when he has a rough game.

Such as he did this morning. I was prepared for it as I know now what triggers him and his emotions, such as being upset about something or frustrated at home before the game. He was outside all day yesterday for his AR (reading) party and field day. From there he went to a two-hour practice last night and then woke up this morning early and was at the ball field by 8:30 for a double header. He was tired, he was hot, and he was pitcher. It was a recipe for disaster.

He likes pitching but he treats it like the weight of the world on his shoulders. And if he walks someone, he spirals down into frustration which him throws him off his game. He started the season like gangbusters and seemed to have his emotions under control. I know that I am the most biased person in the bleachers but his playing has really gotten very good. He is growing into those arms and legs, is faster now, and very coordinated. I would say graceful, but I am his mom so take it with a grain of salt (he's graceful). He has been doing so well that they asked him to fill in this week on an 11- and 12-year-old team. I was nervous for him I admit, but he got out there and hit a smoking line drive down first and then made a double play at third.

Today did not go as smoothly. He did not shake off mistakes and lost his temper. Coach David handled it exactly like we hoped. He was straight with the boys after the games and told them that if he saw tears, then he was pulling them out because it meant their heads weren't in the game. Big wasn't the only one tearing up and having a hard time this morning. He could very well be pulled from a future game and I don't want him to be, but it might be the best thing that can happen to him.

I have said before that no one is as hard on him as he is on himself. The good news is that his school coach stopped me and told me yesterday that he has made great strides this year in not getting upset when he is tagged out or loses a game in PE -- which was another struggle for him. On the way home today, I talked to him about what was more important to him, playing perfectly or just playing ball. Because if he can't let go of his disappointment when a play does not go his way and he lets it upset him to the point that it distracts his playing, then he won't get to play. I hope it sunk in.

He is growing up. Sometimes I can't tell who is teaching who. 

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