Monday, November 7, 2011
Halloween Weekend, 2011. My 14-year-old daughter was scheduled to play in the season’s “last look” collegiate softball showcase in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. First game was set for 8 a.m. Saturday, so we had to be there Friday night. I was taking my 5-year-old, who loves taking these trips with me, and leaving my 10- and 12- year-olds with my husband, who would be taking them to their local games on Long Island.
I wasn’t rushing to get out of the house. There was no point in trying to get through New York City before 7 p.m. Then I got a text from the coach: “Snow expected tomorrow. We have been offered a game for tonight at 9:30 or 10:30 p.m. How many of you can get here on time?”
“Are they crazy? Don’t people work? This game will never happen,” I said to whoever would listen. I texted back, “We can’t leave until 6 and she has a cough so I’d rather she didn’t play tonight anyway.”
About an hour later I get another team text, “Game is on for 10:30 p.m. 25 college coaches are there to see the game.”
I really didn’t care about the college coaches. While many parents are investing their time and money into this sport depending on the slim chance at an athletic scholarship, she is there for one reason: she really loves this game. But I really didn’t want her playing in this game tonight. She was running for the cross country state qualifiers the following week and I wanted her to get rid of that cough beforehand. There had been no response to my individual text so I assumed she was off the hook for that night.
So we’re driving through Brooklyn and I get another text. I threw the phone back to my daughter so she could read it and answer. “What is your ETA?”
What the heck is an ETA? Does he mean GPA? Then I realize he means estimated time of arrival.
“Tell him 10:30,” I said, assuming he wouldn’t put her in the game with no warm-up time. My GPS was set for the hotel – not the field.
“We are short one player. We’ll delay game and wait for you,” he answers.
Shoot. Now we were under the gun of a whole team depending on her so they could get this game in. I redirected the GPS to the field. We’d be there at 10:15.
We got to the field and it actually was not too cold. My 5-year-old woke up. “Are we at the hotel yet?” she asked, sleepily.
“Believe it or not, we are at the field for a game tonight.”
She reconciled herself to this news pretty well, perked up, and decided she would brave the outdoors to go sit and watch the game.
Game started at 11:15. The girls were playing well, and my daughter was happy with her plays at shortstop. The highlight of the night, for me, happened at 1 a.m., when my daughter hit a triple. That started a rally going, but my little one and I were cold and I watched the last inning from the car. We got to the hotel at around 2 a.m. The 8 a.m. game was canceled, with most of the Sat. games probably off. They were planning on putting a tarp down on the field.
“What about the outfield?” mused the father of an outfielder.
We woke up at 9 a.m. to take advantage of the hotel’s all-you-can-eat breakfast. I looked out at the falling snow and, worried about snow getting in the car window that doesn’t shut completely. Everybody figured it was canceled for the day but the Sunday games were still on. We wondered if they planned on bulldozing the fields. After breakfast I settled the girls back into the room and went out to wipe down my car and park it under a tree.
I came back in and was informed that the whole weekend was now off. Half the team was staying the night, to travel on dry roads tomorrow, and half was going. What drove me crazy was that people were standing around pretending like this didn’t really STINK. I missed my family, so chose to go.
It took a total of 7 hours to drive back – what had taken 3.5 hours the previous night. I averaged around 30 miles per hour.
How many times over that long drive over snowy, icy, sleety roads, did I wish we had stuck with cross country? How many times did I wish that, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I had red, magical shoes that I could click together to get myself home?
When I was finally home, warm and cozy with my family all around me, I decided I was not going to leave the house again until I absolutely had to.
“How did it go?” asked my husband.
“That was a fun game,” my daughter replied.
And THAT is what it is all about. When you have a kid who is passionate about something, you do all that is in your power that allow them to do that thing that they love.
Parents who are just getting into travel sports, or contemplating taking their kids to tryouts, know what you are getting into. There are many highs, and more lows. It is extremely time-consuming, and expensive. If you have more than one child enrolled in a sport, it gets very tricky to plan out your nights and weekends. Your own social life will be confined to teammate’s parents on the field.
But if you can bear all that, and you want your child to learn about strength, dedication, time-management, and sacrifice (all the same things that parents will have to learn more about during this journey), then go ahead and start out on this adventure they call TRAVEL SPORTS. You will never be the same.