Lessons Learned on a Baseball Field

Last night we had Bean’s end of season baseball party.  We met with our team at a local sports bar and had dinner and a little awards ceremony.  It was a nice way to celebrate the end of a pretty challenging baseball season for our family.

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Chris and I made Bean play baseball this season.  He had played four other seasons before and loved them all, and somehow he got it in his head that he didn’t want to play again this season.  But he also didn’t really want to do anything else in exchange, which isn’t an option in our family.  You have to be involved in something with a team because Chris and I value the experience of learning and working together with others.  And so, when he started going back and forth about what he wanted to do at the beginning of the season, Chris and I pulled rank and forced him to play this season.

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We have learned since then that this has advantages and disadvantages.  Forcing Bean to play a team sport is one thing, and we have realized that we still value that in our family.  But I regret picking the sport for him.  He dragged his feet this season, mostly because his heart wasn’t really in it.  And so there ended up being less of a learning experience for him and more of a head-t0-head frustration for us and Bean as the season wore on.  I think it was a mistake to force him to play a specific sport and, while I can’t change our decision in the past, it will certainly inform us as we go forward.

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On the other hand, Bean learned a lot this season.  The biggest struggle he faced was being so small.  He was the youngest on his team and one of the youngest in his league, which meant that he was also one of the smallest.  This intimidated him throughout the season.  But it also provided some great conversations in our family about being in situations where we were uncomfortable and learning to have the self-confidence to push forward.  Chris told him several times throughout the season that he was probably going to always be one of the smaller ones – just like Chris was growing up – but that that couldn’t be an excuse for not giving it your 110%.

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By the end of the season, Bean was playing more confidently and, as a result, was not having as many battles with Chris and I about baseball.  So, it ended on a pretty high note.  But it was definitely a learning season for all of us, and I think we all came through it wiser.

On a somewhat different note, I thought I’d share our coach’s gift, in case anyone else needs an idea as all these sports seasons come to a close.  I bought a bag of peanuts and a bag of sunflower seeds from the grocery store and stacked them on top of each other.  Then, I found Gatorade energy bites for $1.00 each in the checkout line, so I threw two of those in there, too.  I put a $25 gift card to a sports bar on the very top, and wrapped it all up with some curling ribbon.

(Can we all pause to appreciate the many uses of curling ribbon?!)

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I’ve never done a big gift card like this for a coach before, but Chris was an assistant coach this season and I saw how hard he worked in that role.  Our coach definitely worked hard for Bean this season and, in the end, I felt like $25 was really the least I could do for his time and care with the boys.  Having said that, I have definitely purchased medium-sized bottles of booze for coaches before and you could certainly tie that to the top of this gift and be good to go, too.  A little cheaper and just as useful!  🙂  But our coach isn’t much of a drinker, so I thought a dinner might be more appropriate for him.

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Anyway, cheers to the end of a hard-fought (in every sense!) baseball season and here’s to becoming a better player and parent as a result!

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2 thoughts on “Lessons Learned on a Baseball Field

  1. Crystal

    I would love to hear more about how you handle or talk about being the smallest. My son, he’ll be 8 this Summer, is the smallest in his class and always the smallest on team sports. He is just becoming more self aware that everyone else is bigger then him. Besides just continuing to encourage him I’m kind of at a loss.

    1. Katie

      It’s so tough to have those conversations because you feel like you are acknowledging a shortcoming (no pun intended!), when it isn’t a shortcoming at all! Chris talks to him a lot about how being small is awesome because you can be super fast and agile, whereas some of the bigger kids have trouble with that. He also talks about being brave and strong, even when you feel intimidated, and how being brave and strong have absolutely nothing to do with your size. I don’t know if those lessons are sticking yet or not, but it usually creates a nice bonding time for Bean and Chris together.

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