Our Little Man is playing baseball for the first time this season.
Oh, he loves it. He's having a great time, and he's doing really well.
But I think his daddy and I are more nervous about the whole shebang than he is.
Not because we care how he does, exactly. I mean that I'm not pushing for him to grow up to be the next Babe Ruth or anything. Though he did walk up to me today and casually announce that he plans to play for the Bulls when he grows up.
But because he's now doing something that he loves out there, on display, for others to watch and see and critique. Hopefully not to criticize, but we both know that it will happen.
Unlike most of the other kids on his team, he's never played Little League before, so while he can bat and run, he doesn't have the grasp on the rules that the other kids do.
The coaches have been really great about helping him along - giving him the support he needs to learn new skills and going alongside him as he does things for the first time.
Still, it's hard to watch your baby out there, standing alone beside home plate, new metal bat grasped firmly in his still-pudgy little hands, knowing that every eye on the field is trained on him.
And you wonder: will he remember what you taught him? Will he remember to keep his eyes on the ball? Will he make it to base? Will he get tagged out - or will he make it home?
You know that it's just a game; that they're only five, and that chances are these players won't remember this game for long, even if it is their very first one. You know that they're still developing hand-eye coordination and that they haven't even grown into the extra-small baseball pants yet and this is just a game, after all.
But maybe this is where he'll start to learn big-time lessons about life. He'll learn that you don't always get a hit. Sometimes you sit on the bench. Sometimes someone will say something that hurts your feelings. Sometimes you'll get tagged, and you might not get the homer you wanted.
But he'll also learn about how to shake off the negative words. He'll learn how to cheer on his teammates and how to give it his best the next time he's up to bat. He'll learn how to care for his equipment and yank up those too-big pants and be a big boy. He'll learn how to lose a game and look the other players in the eye and say, "Good game" and really mean it.
Those are all important lessons. Good lessons - lessons that we all need to learn.
I'd rather he begin to learn them now, as he's young, when he can learn to roll with the punches and go with the flow and have fun doing it all with his daddy.
So this baseball thing is a good thing.
But if you see me out running alongside the baseball field, chasing my Little Man with my camera, could you bring me some chocolate?
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