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If someone were to ask me what my favorite season is, my answer wouldn’t be one of the 4 typical choices (winter, spring, summer, autumn).  My answer would most definitely be BASEBALL season.  For as long as i can remember, baseball has played a significant role in my life.

As a youngster, i remember being on the sidelines of the baseball field.  As a teenager, not only did i watch my brother’s games during the school year, there was Babe Ruth league and Prep League (summer league).  I actually met my very best, closest, oldest friend in the stands of one of my brother’s ball games.  Her older brother played on my father’s team for several years.  

My father was at EVERY one of my brother’s baseball games.  Many times i have been told the story of how my father was always standing behind the backstop at the start of every Varsity game.  There was one occasion when it was nearing the start of the game and my brother’s best friend (and short stop for the team) said, “We can’t start yet...Mr. T****** isn’t here!”  Fortunately, my father arrived very soon after that.

My father was the kind of spectator who stood with his hands in his pockets, rarely saying a word, with the exception of, “Talk to him, Jeff!”  My brother was a catcher and that one phrase is the only thing my father ever said to my brother during a game.  If my father thought that the Varsity team (who, in large part, were his former minor, major and Babe Ruth players) needed a reminder to sharpen up their play, you would hear 5 crisp, loud claps.  It was amazing...almost Pavlovian...these boys would snap to attention...they knew the message and who was delivering it.

My father was the kind of coach who inspired his team.  He did not threaten, yell or belittle anyone.  My father guided his players, inspired them to expect more of themselves and to respect the game of baseball.  There was no talking smack to the other team...that was for those who could not rely on their ability to win a game.  There were very clear rules that all of his players knew and trusted; miss practice, sit the bench; late for practice, you don’t start the next game; don’t come to a game, you sit some more.  These young boys who became young men under the athletic guidance of my father had so much respect for their coach that all my Dad had to do was suggest something and it was done.

So, here i am with a son of my own...a son who loves the game of baseball.  We have endured (for, if you‘re honest with yourself, you KNOW that “endure” is the right word) T-ball.  We enjoyed watching little league as Patrick’s understanding of the game improved as did his ability.  Being a lefty, every coach assumed that this boy would pitch and/or play first base.  

The year that Patrick was 9, my father was dx’d with cancer.  He was unable to come to NY for baseball season and, as fate would have it, my father would never again be able to help my son reach his full potential in baseball.  Ironic how that works...

When Patrick was through majors and began “Sr. League” (at age 12), he was dismissed by his coach, for the coach’s son was a lefty who pitched and played first base.  Patrick found himself in the outfield.  For Patrick, practice consisted of his standing in the outfield for 2 hours and MAYBE seeing 10 balls in his direction.  This had to have been the most frustrating baseball season ever.

Patrick has since moved into the Babe Ruth League in the next town where he has slowly improved and showed some promise but my husband and I decided that perhaps Patrick didn’t have the talent we had once thought.  I am ashamed to admit that i was disappointed.  It appeared that I wanted baseball for my son more than he did.

This past January, Patrick and I got to talking about what he wanted for himself regarding baseball.  I told him that i couldn’t want his success more than he did, that it was all within his reach if he was willing to work for it.  Patrick assured me that he wanted to make the JV baseball team more than he’d wanted anything in a long time.  He asked me if i would enroll him in a pitching clinic at the local sports academy...of course, i was more than happy to do this!

Fast forward to March...Patrick has completed the 8 week clinic, made the JV ball team (as a pitcher and 1st baseman) and been given a chance to prove himself on the mound.  He has shown enormous improvement in his ability to throw strikes,  “hit his mark“, and outsmart the batter.  Regularly, his coach tells Patrick, my husband and I how remarkable Patrick’s performance is on the mound...and that he is certain that Patrick will be on the Varsity team next year (this comes with it’s own set of problems to be dealt with...later).

So, as i watch my son play some excellent baseball, it is bittersweet.  I know that my father would have seen to it that Patrick pitched at his potential from the day that he began.  We would not have been at the mercy of his coaches, because Patrick would have had the best private coach around...my father. I just know that my father would be at every one of Patrick’s games...his hands tucked into his pockets, watching his grandson find joy in something that ALWAYS brought him joy.  My father would know from experience that every success Patrick felt on the field would bring him a stronger sense of self-confidence and belief that effort is what it takes to succeed.  

And, if Patrick needed to be reminded to sharpen up his playing, we would all hear 5 crisp loud claps...but only Patrick and I would know why!



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Apr 29, 2009
    • Nice memories! Thx for sharing......



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Leeann wrote Apr 29, 2009
    • That was great post !!! My mother loved baseball and so does my son Chris. My mother sent Chris acticles from the newspaper on  all her favorite teams . She had a pitcher from a team autograph a picture for Chris.  I think Chris will miss her this season. Many smiles!!! Thanks again for the post.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Apr 29, 2009
    • I love seeing baseball games more than any other.
      There is something in the air, if that makes sense!!
      TY for sharing this Daphne!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Encee wrote Apr 29, 2009
    • I grew up in a baseball-loving home too.  My uncles had this joke:  

       Q:  “What are the last two words of the National Anthem from April to October?”  

      A:  “Play ball!”

      Thanks for bringing back lots of fun memories for me!  

      nancy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Apr 29, 2009
    • Nice to see that i’m not alone in my love of baseball.  The memories are numerous...far too numerous to write down in one sitting.  

      BTW...my son had a VERY difficult game tonight.  He is feeling down about the loss.  This is the hardest part of being the “mommy“...i want him to learn to let it go and look to the next game.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Apr 29, 2009
    • I grew up across the street from the city’s baseball field and they had 5 diamonds there. I spent all my summer nights watching those games.....the memories!

      I’m sorry your son lost!



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