17 May 2006

The first "post-game analysis"

Blogging, blogging. blogging. It can be a full-time job (not that I would know).

Here we are in the full bloom of May. Anyone else out there under water? My older son stated very matter-of-factly: "God must have plans for all of this rain. But do you think He wants to rain-out ALL of my games?"

We are a Little League family. Given my adoration of the sport, you must imagine how I feel when it hits me every game day that I have a Little Leaguer. Jubilation! I worried about what kind of sports parent I would be. Would I be the one screaming from the sidelines, or pacing behind the bench, or throwing the first punch?

I needn't have been concerned. I was raised by two people who love sports, and who, more importantly, are sportsmen. (PLEASE NOTE: Gender neutrality is observed in all TIO blogs.) My father was a coach - who also instilled a love of the game in his players. Do your best. Have fun. Run it out. Hustle on and off the field. Cut your hair and wipe the dirt off your lip. My mother was the consumate fan - who also kept those around her both informed of the count and the best stain removers and hand sanitizers. Cheer for your team. Never boo anyone. Bring snacks. Don't leave before it's over. They both believed in writing on home-run balls, hot showers for sore muscles, and rewarding effort with kindness and a pat-on-the-back - but rarely ice cream.

So where do I fall? I surprised myself. During the first game, I video-taped my older son's first Little League at-bat, which resulted in a run. I set-up chairs for my younger son and myself, and sat - cheering for each player on both teams - until the game was called for darkness. Then, as it was our turn to bring them, I got up and handed out the snacks to the team. More accurately, I opened the boxes of rice-crispy-treats and CapriSun Sport drinks and stood back to avoid being trampled. The surprise for me was this: I wasn't nervous for him. I didn't think that he was succeeding or failing - regardless of what I did. It's not about me. Further, I don't want to go out there and do it for him. I thought I might. This is his sport to learn - and love - now.

Post-game, my son was giddy, and his younger brother asked him repeatedly how baseball was (to play). "Is it good, John? Is it fun? Is baseball good?" His reply made me misty: "It's the best fun ever, Teddy."

Today's conundrum: Have we become a "my way or the highway" society? Parenting is rough when you're fighting against this societal phenomenon. We all struggle with pride. We all want to feel/be important. But when your child is astute enough to question the difference between obedience and a need to control, where do you go for back-up? I don't want every moment, every decision to be a battle. That's just silly. But, I do want a balance between their "coming to heel" and becoming responsible people. I think back on my life and wonder how I made it this far. Stupidity is sometimes masked by youth and inexperience, you know. But still, how do you govern your home without vascilating between being a Shrek and a pollyanna? The "Golden Rule" still rules as a better way to live, I think.

Future conundrum: Is it possible to have a meal entirely comprised of food with the word "pop" in the names, e.g. popcorn, Poptarts, popovers, soda pop? Is this responsible? Is this healthy? Comment to your heart's content.

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!


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