Friday, July 8, 2011

Full Count

Ball one. Outside.

It is a stressful evening, getting four kids ready to go out the door for our typical evening of sports. Dinner is on the table when they get home from school. Three of them play for travel ball teams, and they all have to be in different locations at 5:30 for games or practices.

Strike one. On the swing.

I drop one daughter to her coach’s house at 4:30. She has a 12U softball game at 6:00. The older daughter will get picked up by a teammate for her 14U softball practice, also at 6:00. I decide to go with my son for the emotional support he needs as starting pitcher on his baseball team.

Ball two. A little high.

My four-year-old looks frantically for all the little things she must have in her backpack. I question my son: Do you have your sports goggles? Water bottle? Athletic cup? Glove? Cleats? I double check the location of the game. We get out the door, carefully, making sure our big naughty puppy doesn’t get out with us.

Strike two. Looking.

In the car, I am feeling really stressed out. “Just a little more grace, Lord. I just need a little more grace to get through this evening.” Once I get to the game, I feel much better. I clear my head of where everybody else is, what has happened earlier, and what will happen later. My daughter finds other little girls to play with. My son goes to warm up. I say hello to the other parents.

Ball three. Inside. FULL COUNT.

We’re up one run, top of the sixth inning, and my son is on the mound. Three boys are in scoring position. The rest of the world disappears. My heart pounds. “Take your time, walk around,” I tell him.

Strike three. THE BATTER IS OUT.

The boys run out to the pitcher’s mound and pile on top of each other. In a ten-year-old boys’ world, a win is the happiest moment of his life. And for me, nothing else matters.