So I’ve been officially banned from the baseball field today.
Apparently I make my kid nervous. That’s what he says. I don’t completely understand it because my husband is the coach, the baseball guy, the one who wants him to play his best and be his best. I of course want that too, but I’m happy just to watch him and his team play, be among friends, hug him when he’s done and go for ice cream. I’ve even been known to bring a book to the game. How am I the intimidating one?
Half the time I’m bitching and moaning that I even have to go. With three boys, it’s all baseball all the time. There’s always another game on the horizon. So why do I even care? Why am I stomping around, huffing and puffing like I’ve just been benched?
Because I’ve just been BENCHED! Damn it. Who wants to be sidelined?!
I feel like I’ve been denied something owed to me as baseball mom; the reward for schlepping them all over, for the mounds of laundry, for the days and nights sacrificed for the game.
And yeah, I love watching him play… well, usually. Sometimes I’m cringing and my stomach is in knots and I kind of want to throw up. And I’m not even the one playing!
Wait a second. I’m having an epiphany over here….
I’m not the one playing. It’s not about me.
Crap. Well that’s annoying.
My oldest is my most competitive. He likes to be the hero, the star. We’ve never put those labels on him, but he’s a natural athlete and puts them on himself. And for some reason, his need to impress me just adds to the pressure.
No matter how much his dad and I explain that no one hits home runs all the time, or even most games, that sometimes the balls just don’t bounce your way, his confidence is still wrapped up in his performance.
My middle son is the total opposite. His team has lost practically every game this season by mercy. It’s cover your eyes, slap your head painful to watch, but he still loves having as many people come and cheer him on as possible. He wants to win, but he can laugh about it too. His temperament can take it and move on. He doesn’t beat himself up like my oldest.
I wonder if all goes back to the birth order thing? Firstborns must succeed. Middles must mediate and negotiate (and sometimes throw tantrums). Babies go with the flow. There’s no exact science there for sure, but it definitely holds true for my boys.
A few moms have told me to ignore my son’s wishes and go to the game anyway but I’m not going to do that, at least for now. This is a big game and he has enough mental pressure without me adding to it.
I know it’s easy to say, “It’s just little league.” Or “You won’t even remember this when you’re older.” But whether your 12 or 22, when you’re in it and it matters to you; the pressure is real and should never be minimized.
These teams work hard together and as individuals. They support each other on and off the field. They play to have fun and they play to win.
Of course it matters to them if they lose.
Of course certain games make them more nervous than others.
And of course I will be there beside him even if it’s only in spirit; because my job as a mom is to be my kids’ best cheerleader, no matter where I’m doing the cheering.