Friday, July 20, 2012

Season Highlights

TP had a terrific summer season, capped off by their championship win last Sunday.  This week I've been reflecting on some of the season's most memorable moments and of course I had to share them here!

Topping the list is of course the big win!  Our boys worked hard all season and winning a championship was the perfect end to their season.  Every player on the team gave his all, making it a true team effort.  As always, they played with heart, class, and sportsmanship, true champions in every sense of the word.

I enjoyed every minute serving as team mom this season.  Every player and coach holds a special place in my heart.  I'm going to miss sitting near or in the dug out and hearing requests for everything from the current score to drinks and snacks.  

A's pure enjoyment at being part of the team was another highlight for me.  Not only did Coach C indulge her by allowing her to hang in the dug out and serve as a bat girl, the entire team treated her like a little sister.  Every player and coach looked out for her, and indulged her every whim, from playing catch with her between games to sharing their sunflower seeds in the dug out.  I'm sure there may have been times they wished she'd go away but they never let her know it. To her, they are her team and her boys, and she is their princess.

I enjoyed forging friendships with the other parents.  When you spend that much time with a group of people,   you either like them or tolerate them.  I'm happy to say I liked them and we had many good times over the course of the season.  I especially enjoyed spending time with M, S, and Coach C's mom, Mrs. C. We had a lot of laughs and I'm going to miss you ladies until we meet again!

J personally had some ups and downs this season.  Every moment, bad or good, allowed him to realize that his dream of baseball is as deep rooted as ever.  There may be some struggles along the way but in the end, he's still willing to sacrifice and work hard to make his dream a reality.  The ups and downs have also shown him how fortunate he is to have a coach  who is as invested in him as Coach C is.  His support of J never wavered, even in the worst moments, and because of that, J has made improvements and is ready to keep working hard on his dreams.

Someone asked me today if we'd be bored now that the season is over.  I wouldn't say bored exactly.  It will be nice to have a few less hectic weeks before school starts again, along with all the fall activities.  But I do miss it and will be looking forward to our next season with happy anticipation.

Monday, July 16, 2012

CFl Championships

This weekend TP returned to the CFL Championship Tournament to defend their championship title from last year.  They not only defended their title, they held onto it with both hands and refused to let go. After  five games played over two days and 41 runs scored, the championship was theirs for the second year in a row.  It was a weekend filled with a lot of action so I'm going to do my best to recap the highlights for you here.

Game one was Saturday afternoon, against a team called Mets Elite.  This team was fairly evenly matched with TP and the game was intense from the start.  TP had a shaky first half of the first inning, allowing Mets Elite to score three runs.  After that, they found their groove and played for a 5-4 win.  Game two was Saturday evening against Team Avalanche and that one got a little nasty.  TP started off strong, taking an early lead.  However, some errors led to Team Avalanche pulling ahead for a brief time.  And that's when things got nasty.  This team was one of those obnoxious teams that I hate coming up against.  Bad attitudes, cockiness, and just absolutely no class. When they pulled ahead they thought they were real hot stuff, but our boys charged and left them in the dust with a 10-7 win.  After that it was back to the hotel to have dinner and wait to hear where we were seeded.  Got word that we were the 3 seed around 11:30 that night with a game time of noon for Sunday.  Game three was against a team called Ocala Blaze.  This game took a while due to rain that at one point caused a fifteen minute delay.  The game went very well, ending in a 10-3 win.  This put TP in the semi final round against the 2 seed team, the Renegades.  This game was a bit more intense than game three since the two teams were more evenly matched, though TP took it in the end 4-2.  After a short break of maybe twenty minutes it was on to the championship round.  The team we were playing, LBA Storm, was a team we'd played before, back in our second tournament of the summer.  They had beaten us in the semi final round of that tournament so the boys were pumped for a rematch.   The game started off being a bit frustrating, remaining scoreless then getting deadlocked in a 1-1 tie I believe until the fourth inning.  To be honest some of the details are fuzzy because what happened next proved to be a very emotional moment for me.  J came up to bat with two outs, which always makes me nervous.  His first at bat of the game had ended in a strikeout when he swung at a pitch he had no business swinging at.  Well, he redeemed himself with a bomb hit  deep into the outfield that brought in two runs, breaking the tie.   The look on his face as he stood on first base is a moment I'll never forget.  Following that, the runner on third base managed to score when J, I believe at Coach C's instruction, had gotten himself into a pickle trying to steal second.  While the other team was busy trying to run J down and tag him out, which they eventually did, our runner scored, giving us a 4-1 lead.  Since the run came in before they tagged J out it counted.  From there, TP ignited and never let up, eventually ending up with a 12-1 win for the championship.   

Let me go back to J's awesome, game changing hit for a moment.  At the time, I didn't fully realize what he had managed to accomplish.  I simply thought he'd gotten a great hit, so great in fact that it made me cry I was so proud of him. It wasn't until later, as we were leaving the ice cream shop we'd gone to to celebrate, that  Coach C said something that made me realize the moment was bigger than I'd thought.  Apparently J's hit turned the tide of the game.  The team was so pumped up that it gave them the push they needed to break out and take ownership of the game.  Had J not delivered, the game might have gone in a different direction.  That made me cry all over again, especially since J has had some rough moments this summer as he continues to work on improving the mechanics of his fielding.  But for last night, he came through when his team needed him the most, which will be a memory he'll carry with him forever.  As Coach C said to him, "Way to be clutch."  

The TP season is over which has left me feeling a little sad.  I'm going to miss the boys, the other parents, and the camaraderie we all share.  I made Coach C promise me last night that we'd talk about next summer soon and him moving up with the current team to the next age division.  I'll be sure to update on that once plans are in place!  But for now, I've washed the swing juice jug for the last time, updated the team web page with our record of 16-6-2, and have almost finished putting together a slide show of TP's greatest moments.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Roots of a Friendship

This past Saturday, J and Coach C spent a few hours doing some hard core training.  Afterwards, Coach C brought J home and stayed for dinner.  During dessert, we were reminiscing a bit about TP's trip to Auburn University last summer and how a moment during that trip became the defining moment of when our friendship really began.  That moment came when hubby decided it would be fun to spill the beans to Coach C regarding A's then newly formed crush on him.  He did this by knocking on Coach C's hotel room door and proceeding to ask him if his intentions were honorable.  Coach C was understandably a bit puzzled, and stated that he always had honorable intentions.  That's when hubby dropped the bomb(with a perfectly sober face) and said he was glad to hear that seeing as how Coach C and A were getting married and having a hot tub honeymoon. (That last part was a quote from A, who has a fondness for lounging in hot tubs.)  Now, I was not in the room for this conversation, but both hubby and Coach C have described his reaction in great detail.  Apparently Coach C turned about as red as a TP jersey and started stammering and stuttering until hubby took pity on him and reassured him he was just messing with him.  After that, there were really only two choices.  We all would become great friends or Coach C needed to run like hell as fast as he could away from our craziness.  Happily, he stuck around and we've nurtured a friendship that has become quite special to all of us.  I know others may look at us and think the friendship is a bit unorthodox.  I imagine  most people don't get as close to their kid's coach, especially one as young as Coach C.  It definitely started on the field, with Coach C and J forming a coach and player bond that is special all on its own.  Readers of this  blog know where that bond has led.  Coach C continues to train and mentor J not only in baseball, but in life.  J values his opinion highly, and looks up to him, like an older brother of sorts.  As the oldest, J has plenty of experience being the big brother, so I think it's been nice for him to have someone fill that role for him.  He is close to my brother, but he's 16 years older than J, whereas Coach C is only 3 1/2 years older.  So it's a different dynamic.  The rest of us love and value Coach C's friendship very much as well.  A of course continues to crush on him, still has plans to marry him, and gives any girl she thinks is getting too close the evil eye.  He, as always, indulges her, treats her like a little queen, and in general, spoils her rotten.  I imagine as she gets older her crush, which is really a huge case of hero worship, will turn more into viewing him as an extra big brother, who will always hold a special place in her heart. Coach C gets a kick out of N and his uniquely quirky personality.  The two of them spend time playing chess or video games and N usually has Coach C shaking his head or laughing at something he says or does.  Hubby loves nothing better than giving Coach C a hard time about everything  from work, (Coach C works part time at hubby's store) to his future nuptials with A.   Coach C gives back as good as he gets, impressing hubby with his quick wit and refusal to let hubby gain the upper hand in their verbal duels.  As for me, I simply love Coach C like one of my own kids.  He won my heart early on, when he saw something in J on the baseball field that others had failed to see.  Since then, he's continued to work tirelessly with J, he's good to my other kids, and is always appreciative of my work for the team.  After our stay in Jupiter, during which he spent a lot of time with us, eating meals and just hanging out, he sent me the sweetest message about how much he loves and appreciates our friendship.  It made me cry, and realize how very much I, too, love and value our friendship. The TP season is coming to an end and I'm not sure what next summer holds for J.  He'll be too old to play on the current TP team, which means he can't play for Coach C.  However, many of the parents and the other coaches are trying to convince Coach C it would be a great idea for him to move up with the current group of boys. I don't know how that all will turn out in the long run, but whatever happens, I know our friendship with Coach C will remain strong.  None of us could have foreseen on that sunny April day when J tried out for Coach C that the six of us would forge such a special bond.  This friendship may have gotten it's start on a baseball diamond, but it's roots run strong and true.