Friday, November 25, 2011

Training Update

J has completed fourteen weeks of his training program.  It's been a long, hard road filled with ups and downs, but he's doing great.  I continue to be amazed at the dedication he's shown and of course, I'm so proud of him.  He's also doing really well in school, even in chemistry, which has given him some problems this semester.  This past Wednesday he had his weekly hitting lesson down at TP.  Coach C was home for Thanksgiving and was able to come to TP to see for himself how J's doing.  He was very pleased with what he saw and outlined the upcoming weeks for J.  The intensity of J's workouts will be increasing as his goal is to gain weight in the form of lean muscle.  They'll also be shifting the focus to getting J as prepared as possible for the try outs for the school team which are coming up in January.  J was happy to see Coach C and get a pep talk from him.  It's never quite the same coming from me.   Coach C gave him the past three days off from working out, which J has enjoyed to the fullest.  Tomorrow he'll be right back on the program, ready to face the challenges that lie ahead.        

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lessons From the Field

Over the years, I've sat through countless baseball games.  I've seen some pretty crazy stuff, from wacky to disgraceful.  There are some things you just don't ever want to be caught doing.  Unless you don't mind being the laughingstock or the most hated parent at the field.  Here's a list:

Do not go and sit in the opposing team's bleachers to cheer for your team.  It's obnoxiously rude.  There are two sets of bleachers for a reason.  Stay on your own side.  Sitting in the opposing team's bleachers yelling "smash the tator" to your player at bat is just ridiculous.  Yes, this happened to TP yesterday.

Do not yell rude, hurtful, or insulting comments at players from the opposing team.  It just makes you look like a donkey's behind.

Be gracious when the opposing team makes a great play or gets an awesome hit.   All the players deserve praise from the spectators when they do a great job.

Never, ever coach from the stands.  When your kid is on the field or in the dug out, the coach is in charge.  Period. End of story.

Always be gracious, win or lose.  Especially when your team wins.  Class and sportsmanship are never out of style.

Do not challenge a parent from the opposing team to a parking lot fight.  It just makes you look classless.  Yes, this happened last week.  No, it was not a TP parent doing the challenging.

If you don't know much baseball terminology, just be quiet.  Or cheer generically.  You just look dumb if you yell out the wrong thing all the time.  People are laughing at you.  I will admit to doing some snickering myself yesterday.

Most important of all, never engage in any behavior that will humiliate your kid.  They need and deserve the respect of their teammates and coach.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In His Own Words

While we were waiting for A at dance class this afternoon, J pulled out some sheets of paper and handed them to me.  "You need to proofread this essay for my English class, mom," he said.  The essay is titled "The Million Dollar Dream"  and I'm going to share excerpts with you now.

Picture a four year old boy as he steps up to his tee with his little red plastic bat. As he digs into the batters box, he taps his bat on the plate three times, turns his shoulders, spits, and gets into his stance.  He pauses for a second as if he is being pitched to, then he  swings and smacks the ball off the tee.  As he runs around the house and slides into the home plate of his tee, his dream is born.

Ever since I was four years old, I have wanted to play professional baseball.  I still do and this is how I plan on doing it.

By this point in the essay, my eyes were already filled with tears because I remember oh so clearly that little four year old boy with his batting tee.

Over the summer my parents invited my travel ball coach over for dinner to discuss baseball with him while I was away at camp.  My mom asked my coach if he thought I had a shot at playing college baseball and maybe even pro.  He said absolutely, if I was willing to work very hard.  When they told me this it made me feel so good that I was speechless.  I knew it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.  When I told my mom I wanted to talk about it more with my coach, we had him over for dinner again.  

This would have been the point when Coach C agreed to  train and mentor J for his future in baseball.  He describes in the essay the training program Coach C has him on.  And then:

I know it sounds like a hand full to balance all of this with school, extracurricular activities, and my personal life.  Well, it is but I manage to find the time for all of it because this is how I am going to achieve my dream.  There are times I want to quit but I don't because I have the support of my family, friends, and coach.  Every time I'm working out or running and I'm about to pass out from exhaustion I picture myself playing in college or even in the pros.  Maybe hitting the game winning home run or winning the the World Series.  Believe it or not after I picture this I make it through the rest of my workout.  

By this point I was having to brush the tears from my eyes.  And then I read the rest.

Even though I just started training and have a long way to go, I have accomplished so much already.  I see the results every time I step foot on a baseball field.  When I make my dream come true the people I have to thank are my parents and grandparents for putting out all of the money I need.  My coach, Coach C,  for all the time and effort he has put into training me.  Most of all, I have to thank my grandpa, because without him I would have never fallen in love with the game of baseball.  Sometimes I picture him and me in his living room with my tee and bat, and him teaching me how to hit.  Even though he isn't my coach anymore, he taught me everything I know about baseball.  I'm not pro yet, but when I am, I'll have all those people to thank.  And even if it doesn't work out I can always say "At least I tried."  But I know I'm on my way to making  my million dollar dream come true.

So there it is.  J's dream summed up in his own words.  Reading this made me even prouder of him than I already am.  This is the reason I shell out money for lessons, teams, and equipment, drive hundreds of miles, spend countless hours making sure he works out, eats the right food, makes it to practices and games on time, and cheer him on from the sidelines.  My son has a dream that he's hell bent on making a reality.  And I consider myself lucky to be along for the ride.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Busy, Busy

I keep a big calendar on my desk and use it to keep track of the numerous activities the kids are involved in.  I sat down recently to fill it in for November and December.  And feel slightly dazed at the amount of penciling in I did.  We of course have the regular weekly activities, meetings, practices, and lessons.  In addition, we'll be beginning preparations for the school Christmas pageant.  The pageant really keeps me hopping because I am in charge of both the costumes and the reception that follows the pageant.  J has baseball tournaments the next two weekends.  N has a chorus concert on Veteran's Day, plus one the first Sat in December. Following that concert, hubby, J, A, and I are traveling up to UF so J can attend a one day camp being put on by the university's baseball staff.  We'll also be meeting up with Coach C so he can reevaluate J and see how he's done with his training.  A has a Christmas dance recital the weekend after that, plus both the dance studio and the school have floats in the town Christmas parade.  The pageant will take place during the week following the parade.  Then the kids all have three weeks out for a winter break.  I can't wait.  There are some long neglected projects around the house I need to get to.  Plus it will be nice to have a few weeks off from everything.  School, baseball, activities, etc.  If time keeps moving as fast as it has these past several months, it will be break time before I know it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Yesterday was a sad day in our household.  N's much loved guinea pig Smores passed away.  N got Smores for Christmas back in 2009 and from the start, Smores was a welcome addition to our family.  He had a funny, peppy personality, and we all enjoyed him.  He'd always been very healthy, but on Wednesday evening, No noticed his food dish was still entirely full.  Since Smores liked to eat, this was very unusual.  A quick inspection revealed a swollen area on Smores' jaw.  Knowing that guinea pigs' health can be delicate, I loaded up N and Smores and we visited the emergency vet.  Smores had an abscess that needed to be lanced and drained.  Everything went well at the vet, and we were sent home with antibiotics and instructions on how to care for Smores while he recovered.  Things seemed to be going well.  I was syringe feeding him pellet mash and baby food carrots since he wasn't up to eating on his own yet.   I was also making sure to give him water the same way.  His wound appeared to be healing nicely.  Unfortunately, when we came home yesterday afternoon, Smores had passed away.  I feel terrible.  Perhaps there was more I could have done.  N is pretty devastated.  He's going to miss Smores like crazy.  We all will.  I have to admit I already miss him squealing at me whenever I enter N's bedroom.  His cage is still there, per N's request.  He's not ready to pack it away just yet.  So rest peacefully our sweet Smores.  You were a treasured member of the family and will be forever missed.