When my son was younger he used to say a lot “when I’m a baseball player.” “When I’m a baseball player I’m going to buy a big house and you’ll come live with me.” “When I’m a baseball player I’m going to have 10 dogs.” When I’m a baseball player we’re going to Hawaii.” He’s been a “baseball player” since he was four; what he didn’t (and still doesn’t) understand is that he’ll always be my favorite baseball player. I’ve never had any illusions about him playing in the Majors. I’m hoping he’ll play through High School, but only because he really wants to and I know it’s his dream.
Of course it’s more enjoyable to watch him when he’s playing well and when the team wins. But for me it really is about so much more. Whether or not my kids play sports, they need to be involved in something that will keep them out of trouble and teach them important life lessons. While my son doesn’t realize it now, baseball has taught him so much more than how to throw a curve ball. It’s taught him how to respect adults, whether or not you agree with their decisions. It’s taught him how not to model bad behavior! We’ve had some really good and some really bad coaches over the years. We had one coach that not only argued with the opposing team; he argued with our own kids and parents, during the games! I was pleased that my son was embarrassed by that coach’s behavior. It’s taught him how to be a leader. Because of his birthday he’s often one of the older kids on his team, so he’s in a natural position to be a vocal, positive team lead. It’s taught him to never give up, no matter how easy that would be. When kids are losing a game, it’s so easy for them to get down on themselves, and so hard sometimes for them to recover and pick themselves back up! It’s also taught him time management. He often needs to get himself fed and ready for his practices and games. That includes putting on the right uniform! And getting his homework done first. There’s a lot of responsibility to being a good sports player.
A few years ago for Mother’s Day my husband gave me a picture of my son lifting off his catcher’s mask, looking all tough, with this quote on it. It’s been one of my favorite gifts. I’ll always treasure it and appreciate the role sports has played in shaping him into the amazing kid he is today.