Big C’s baseball season is officially over. After a disappointing loss in the championship game of the playoffs, he received his trophy, bid farewell to his teammates, and retired his cleats that will be too small the next time he’ll need them. No more late practices. No more hot games.
When the season first started in April, I wrote about my dissatisfaction with the coaching methods, practice times, and favoritism
. I feared we wouldn’t make it through the season, that I’d yank Big C off the team before the first game. Although, I ended the season still resenting the practice times and the blatant favoritism toward the coaches’ sons, I’m not only thankful we stuck it out, but I plan to request the same coaches next year if Big C chooses to play baseball again.
I don’t know when or why my change of heart occurred. Maybe it was the kindness of a third assistant coach and a volunteer father who took Big C under their wings. Maybe it was seeing my son’s athletic improvements. Maybe it was the fact that he didn’t care about practice times or the lack of attention he received compared to other teammates. He just wanted to play ball.
As strange as it sounds, I think I did more maturing this baseball season than Big C did. I’m proud to say I wasn’t that mom screaming at her son from behind the dugout (although I was tempted to during those innings when Big C was sitting
in the outfield playing with the grass instead of preparing himself for a grounder). And I wasn’t that mom complaining to the coaches that her son was bored in the outfield. Sure I would have loved to see Big C get more action during games. However, I knew it would cause him less psychological damage to be bored than to be clobbered by balls hit to the infield.
I tried my hardest not to be that mom who lives vicariously through her child. I stifled my nerves when Big C was at bat. I bit my tongue when the scary assistant coach yelled at him. I walked away when Big C got hit in the face with a ball (3 TIMES) so he could learn to shake it off without the embarrassment of Mommy hugging him. And I ignored the fact that he got very little attention from the head coach compared to the better players.
This season was my first taste of being a sports mom, and I never expected to go through such emotions. And I’m in awe of my parents, who endured years of shuttling me and my brother to swim meets, baseball games, and the half a dozen other sports we attempted. The older I get and the longer I’m a parent, the more appreciation I have for my parents, for all the sacrifices they made for me and for all they taught me.
I have to admit I’m relieved that we don’t have baseball practice to attend tonight. Now I just need to get over the new mommy emotions that hit me today as I dropped Big C off for his 1st day of summer camp. Do we ever get used to these mommy emotions? Does letting go of our babies ever get easier?