One week from today, J will begin his senior year of high school. One short year and my baby will take his first flight out of the nest. It's an exciting time as he works on college applications, makes plans for the future, and of course, continues to reach for those baseball dreams he's been chasing since he was four years old. I'll be the first to admit that J's dream is a little unconventional. It's certainly not the most practical, nor is it going to change the world. But it's his dream, one that he's refused to give up on for the past 14 years. Oh back when he was just a little boy I'm sure it didn't have the meaning for him that it does now. But somewhere along the line, baseball became his heart and he's never wavered in his determination. Now, hubby and I did make it clear that while we were willing to support his dream in any way we could, we weren't willing to let him pin everything on something that was such a huge long shot. The deal was he had to have a valid fall back plan. It took him a little while but he finally worked his way around to deciding to study sports business when he gets to college. If he can't play ball, he wants to at least make a living being involved in baseball.
So that's his plan. Earn a sports business degree while hopefully playing college baseball. And he still dreams of a shot at the big leagues. Again, a long shot, but my boy is nothing if not determined. J is a kid who has to work hard for things. Good grades don't come naturally for him. He has to study hard to maintain his GPA. He also has to work hard on the ball field, where his natural talent and ability only take him so far. He isn't that player that has scouts and coaches chasing after him. He's good, but he isn't showy or flashy. I've always compared him to the tortoise in the old story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow, steady, and determined to win his race. This past weekend he attended a baseball camp at his top college pick. He was determined to make a good impression on the coaches. If looking smooth, confident, and in control during fielding drills, hitting well in batting practice, and going three for three, scoring twice, and fielding like a pro in the simulated game they played was what it takes to leave a good impression, then he nailed it. He left his whole heart on that field, knowing it was his one shot to show what he could do. Next he'll begin contacting coaches with letters of interest, letting them know a little bit about himself and that he's interested in playing college ball. From there, if anyone is interested, he'll follow up with a letter of recommendation from Coach C, and hopefully the next step would be a try out and an offer to play.
I, being the sentimental mom that I am, got a little teary eyed when he hit send on that first email this morning. I'm so proud of him, and I also admire him tremendously for having the courage to keep pursuing a dream. So many people give up on their dreams, believing they just can't do it or that it isn't worth the hard work. But my boy has never wavered in his determination. There have been times when he's been tired, discouraged, or frustrated, but he's kept going. He's sacrificed being a typical teenager at times in order to train and become the best player he can. No matter what happens, he's going to know he gave it everything he had. As for me, I believe in my heart J is meant to play ball. It could be somewhere close to home or it could be hundreds of miles away. No matter where it is, I'll send him off with a smile, knowing he's earned the chance to live out his dream.