This week's Thoughts on Thursday is a little different than previous ones.
So, we all know I am a planner. I usually map out each day (to the minute, at times). Sometimes it works incredibly well and other times ... well, other times your day takes an unexpected turn when summer camp calls at 2 pm to tell you that your twelve-year-old fell and hurt his ankle and arm. I really did not think it was a big deal -- my son can be a little accident-prone and had already twisted his ankle once this baseball season. Propping it up and icing it down usually fixes him up. So I thought that is what we would be doing again. Until I got there and realized that he could not move his arm or put weight on his foot. The asst. camp director had to carry him to my car. That was my "Oh sh$%^*t." moment.
If you have read Team Skelley for awhile you might remember that Big Kid broke his wrist the last week of summer camp last year. This year he did not make it past day 2.
So we went to the doctor and it was not looking good for the young turk. She sent us to have X-rays and I never thought that I would say thank goodness he just broke his elbow but when faced with a broken elbow or a broken ankle, my active boy will take elbow every time. He was not so lucky this time with his cast -- no exo-splint. This is old school, but luckily he only wears it for three weeks.
Except it ended his baseball season prematurely.
Here he is at his second to last tournament game, doing what he loves to do most: steal home. This is his second year with Coach David and Coach Jay (pictured) and for the second time this group of boys found themselves playing for the championship.
And apparently forgot to take it off after the game was over.
Big's competitiveness is well-documented and his coaches and I have talked about how he struggled with carrying it all on his shoulders. Big has very high expectations for himself. He believes that he should field every ball hit to him and that he should make it around the bases at every bat. But this is baseball, it is a team sport and no one is a baseball robot, as I have told him many times. Everyone strikes out, everyone misses a ball, everyone makes a wild throw or one that is half a second slower than the runner. He has a hard time swallowing that. Sometimes he gets frustrated and emotional. It is something that he has to work to control.
His having to watch his teammates play the game he loves is what my college pastor would call a God thing. I have had many God things in my life as He has had to teach me many lessons. For Big his lesson was that baseball went on without him. It taught him to instead of focusing on his own performance, he needed to concentrate on the team. His teammates played their hearts out. But even more impressive than their conduct on the field was their conduct with their injured shortstop and how they still included him. He supported his team and they told him that they would play their best for him. That is baseball. That is why I love this sport. It's not just about learning how to throw a ball or slide home. It's not about being a shining star. It is about teaching kids resilience, grace under pressure, sportsmanship and teamwork.
And dabbing, lots of dabbing.
His coaches deserve the credit for creating an atmosphere where everyone is appreciated. Regardless of position or where they land in the batting line up, every boy on that team was a valued member, even if they only had one working arm.
My boy learned a tough life lesson, but after watching him suck up his disappointment and be there for his team, I don't think it is possible to convey how proud I am of him. He might have only played four of the seven tournament games, but I consider this his most successful season yet.