Thursday, October 16, 2008
AND THEN THE GONG WENT OFF!
There we were sitting and watching the MARA Little League Cubs take on the Yankees. It had been a somewhat disappointing season thus far. Coop's team (The Cubs) had been doing fine (5-3 record) but he had not really shown the improvement this season I was hoping for. I mean he was solid, but I was hoping this would be his break out season. And yet, just last game he struck out and hit a couple of ho-hum ground balls. Had I created a monster encouraging him to play fall baseball? He had seemed to regress since Spring ball. All these doubts of an ultra-competitive-trying-to-live-vicariously-through-my-son-dad started to enter my head.
Since turning about 30, I had pretty effectively channeled my love for the game into watching my kids. I still play softball, etc. but have definitely prioritized my kids. So as Cooper seemed to plateau, this was very hard for me to take. It was not for lack of effort, Cooper and I had hit the cages countless nights (We bought the 150 round package), often play catch late at night in front of the house only lit by street lamps, and have practiced drills in the hot and humid summer.
But then something happened, he seemed to have a little extra zip in his throws tonight. He snared a would be double down the line and made the play at first. He did the splits to make the stretch at first and get a player out on a bang-bang play. Now it was time for Cooper to bat, my anxiety and nervousness settling in the pit of my stomach -- AND THEN THE GONG WENT OFF. First pitch -- Cooper drills the ball over the right fielder's head. He runs to first, I am out of my seat running along the dug out, screaming at him to run since he is not fastest kid in the world. He rounds second and takes a look at the ball rolled up against the fence and then third and the base coach is waving him home. The ball is thrown to the plate but not in time -- Cooper's first home run of the season and the first for the Cubs all year. I was so happy for him. Then came the best part -- Cooper running out of the dugout and searching for his dad (me) and running and jumping into my arms. I realize I am totally bragging about my kid on this blog, but for those who have kids and for those who might one day, that moment, of having practiced so many hours together with your son, after some rough games, was absolutely priceless.
As luck would have it, his next time up he hit a homer on the first pitch again. Cooper had not hit one the entire season, but today was his day. And a day I will never forget as a Dad. Let's hope he is not a one-game wonder. But either way, that moment was worth all the insane fees for MARA baseball right there.