When my husband was in eighth grade he played basketball. Catholic school. Strict nuns. Made him what he is today, I’m pretty sure. But husband also had a mom who was concerned with his grades. Three cheers for mom, right? But then she got a note from Sister Clara (I think) who informed her that basketball was endangering the grades. Big game coming up. Big tension in the house. Basketball lost to Mom and the nuns and one young boy was devastated. Many years later she told me about it because he never could.
Fast forward to our number one son, a baseball player. Loved the game. A popular player and dad for a coach. What could be better? Many times son came through for dad and the team and glory rose all ‘round. Until the day that has assumed the mantle of Casey at the Bat for us. Remember that old poem about the hero of Mudville? Until he struck out. All hopes were pinned on our son just as the hopes of Mudville were pinned on Casey. “Get ‘em!” his teammates hollered. Lots of chatter from the outfield. Mom and brothers eyes all clued to our favorite batter – who struck out. On the ride home our Dodge maxi-van was barely able to hold the grief and this mother wanted to cradle her baby so badly and could not.
Pull the story into the present and another star has been born. Mr. Personality. The male heir. Funny, scary smart, and, best of all to Mom and Grandma, tenderhearted. Well, except when it comes to pounding his sister, but that’s a whole other post. It’s a kid thing. But yesterday our star faced a challenge that has rocked our world. He had to absorb, cope, think about and rally against a perceived injustice. Tie score, worthy (and a bit cocky) opponents, and a chance to break a tie to win against a team with no losses. Our boy rounds third like a locomotive and heads for home. Where chaos reined. Dust all over the place, an outfielder hum-chucking the ball for home plate. The player just ahead of Sam scoring, parents on their feet cheering, and their itty bitty catcher smack in the way. Sam’s way.
Do you know how hard it is to stop a locomotive? You do? Then you know Sam couldn’t stop. With every sense dedicated to scoring and his judgment on call, he spotted the prize and decided not to slide. He tried not to but he took itty bitty out at the knees. CRASH! Down went the poor guy and outrage exploded. On their side for the turtle-on-its-back catcher. On our side for Sam who was suddenly caught up in a melee that got him thrown out of the game and threatened with suspension. “Yer Out!” the umpire screeched. Our boy with a red face and Niagara Falls wanting to spill from his eyes on the humiliating walk to the dugout. And this time a mom and a grandma who could not cuddle their baby.
With all this drama and with a head full of memories all I can say is, there was more love in that van ride home than I’ve seen anywhere in a long time. And I’m sure there was the same on the ride home for that catcher.
Some things are so hard. But our choice in the tough times is to rage on or to hope. And I think, for our family’s part, we’re going with hope. You won’t fail if you aren’t out there trying, but you can’t win, either. A decision on the suspension is pending. I’ll let you know if Sam gets to play on Tuesday.
Image: Meawpong3405 Free Digital Photos