Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Next Step

Today I watched J and Coach C on the field during J's last full training session before the showcase this weekend.  I always enjoy watching the two of them together on the field, but today my view was blurred by the tears that kept spilling from my eyes.  These were not sad tears, but proud mama tears.  This weekend J is taking a step in his baseball career that could change the course of his future.  He's worked and trained so hard to get to this point and I admire him so much for sticking with his goal.  Over the years there have been ups and downs, as many disappointments as there have been triumphs, yet J has never wavered from his determination to become the best baseball player he can be.  Watching him today, I saw not only the athlete on the cusp of adulthood, but the tiny boy whose bat was almost bigger than he was.  Who first piped up in that small, four year old voice, "Mama, I'm  going to be a ball player when I grow up."  Images ran like a film reel through my mind, all of the practices, games, and moments that have molded J into the player he is today.  I tried to hide my tears from him, though he knows how sentimental and emotional I get, so I'm sure he noticed.  Just as I'm sure it won't be the last tears I shed over this showcase.  Showcases happen all the time, with talented young players taking the same steps J is taking to realize their dreams.  He's certainly not the first or last young ball player to follow this path.  But this is one of those moments that is hitting me right in the spot in my heart that is reserved for my firstborn.  I loved watching him run through drills with Coach C, watching the two of them sitting in my living room taping J's bats, and just sharing that special bond they share.  Coach C was originally supposed to go to the showcase with us.  However, he's at a crucial point in studying for his upcoming LSAT exam, so he's going to stay behind and we'll update him throughout the weekend.  While J is disappointed that Coach C won't be able to be there, he's also glad to have to the chance to offer his support to Coach C, the way Coach C has always done for him.  That makes the proud mama tears spill over, too, because while they may have become coach and player purely by chance, they've become friends and brothers by choice.  At this rate, I'm going to be a soggy mess by Sunday night! We really are all very excited about this weekend.  It's such a huge opportunity for J to go out there and hopefully catch the eye of some college coach.  No matter what though, he can be proud of the fact that he has held onto a dream that began so long ago, that is coming closer and closer to possibly becoming a reality.  I know J is strong enough to grab hold of that dream with both hands and never let go.  Good luck this weekend baby!  This is your moment and I know you're going to shine!  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Showcase Countdown

Where will you be two weeks from today?  I know where I'll be; watching J at his very first showcase.  That's right.  In two weeks, J will be out on the field, being coached and evaluated by college coaches and scouts.  All the years of hard work, training, triumphs, and disappointments, will come together in a single weekend as my baby goes out there and takes a shot at the next stage of his life's dream.  He, as always, is cool as a cucumber, quietly confident in his ability to do a good job.  I, as always, have nerves enough for both of us.  Along with the nerves comes excitement.  He's worked for this for so long and we are so proud of him for never giving up on a dream that may never happen.  The showcase is a weekend long affair.  The day before, J, hubby, myself, my dad, and Coach C will travel the four or so hours to the showcase location so we can get J settled and well rested before his big day.  That evening there is early check in, followed by a college recruiting seminar.  Then the next morning, J will report to the field for a workout and evaluation, followed by games that afternoon and the next day. Hopefully, one or more of the coaches watching will recognize everything J has to offer a team.

Back to those nerves of mine and J's lack thereof. I think he's able to bury the nerves for the most part for a couple of reasons.  First, I worry enough for everybody.  J often tells me I worry so he doesn't have to.  Second, he will have his greatest support system in tow.  J knows that hubby and I support him 110%, and will continue to do so, no matter what.  But along with us, he'll have the two most influential people in his baseball career with him.  My dad fostered the love J has for the game from the time he was a tiny baby.  He taught, coached, and encouraged for many years.  He doesn't say much but I know it means a lot to him to be there when J takes this monumental step.  Last but not least, having Coach C there is just the way it should be.  His coaching, training , and support mean the world to J, and being able to look up from that field and see Coach C there supporting him will effectively bury any lingering nerves J may have.  Hubby, my dad, and Coach C may not share my nerves when J takes the field, but I know they'll share my pride.  Pride and love for a young man who has quietly worked towards a dream that is so close he can almost reach out and grab it.