Friday, April 23, 2010

Out Front and a Curve Ball

I guess I've stepped away from my blog again. Sometimes life throws us a curve that and it's hard to think about other things, like blogging. More about that in a bit. Anyway, I'm back with a what's happening out front post. Lots of things are popping up. If you look closely, you'll see a little bit of blue peaking out from the left side of that big ugly stump.

Here's a closer look. Forget-me-nots. One of my favorites. This was taken later in the day when the sun was low. Love the rich blue.

You can also see a couple of tulips popping up. Yellow tulips. The package claimed they were a pastel pink. Yellow isn't bad, but what the heck? Eric picked the bulbs up for me in Amsterdam last fall...I don't think I'll be returning them. :-)

The cherry tree is blossoming. Or crab apple tree. Or whatever it is. The blossoms are pretty and smell so nice.

If I were a bird I'd build a nest there.

Here is my yellow tulip on a sunnier day. Yellow. Not pink.

The next few shots were taken in the front corner of my neighbors yard. I wonder if their red tulip was supposed to be a different color. I like it.

While we're looking at the tulips I'll tell you about that curve ball that has thrown us all for a little bit of the loop this last week. Last month, Billy tried out but didn't make the cut for the high school baseball team. It was quite a blow. He was more determined than ever to make the travel team for this summer, so he could have a better chance to make the High School team next year. He took some extra hitting lessons, worked on pitching a bit and went to the travel team evaluations feeling like things would turn out well.

They didn't. The same kids that made the High School team are the ones that will be playing on the travel team this summer. He was crushed. We were too. And while I do know that it's just baseball, it was a big dream of his to play travel again this year, to play High School ball, to even play in college if he could....but with one cut, it feels like his dreams are gone. Poof. It's tough to watch it happen to your child. Life's lessons, I know, but I sure wish he didn't have to learn them this way, at this age.

The hard part is knowing that he honestly should have made both teams. Through all the years of playing travel, he has always had one of the highest batting averages on his team. Through those same years he was on the top of the list of fewest errors made. Black and white stats. Facts. Nobody looked at those. Beyond the stats he is a kid that knows and loves the game. He might not have been an all star, but he hustles, he listens. He was out there because he was passionate about the game, not because he was pushed into it. But even with that he didn't make the cut.

How do you explain "why" to your child when you can't understand it yourself. How do you explain "why" when there are kids that had terrible stats and not the best of attitudes that make the team and your son didn't. How do you stop yourself from pointing out that, well, his dad and his dad and his dad are on the board of directors for the league? On that one you bite your tongue...I did, I have scars to prove it.
We asked the High School coach what he could have done differently...he suggested that Billy should have hit the weight room to bulk up. Excuse me, at the time he was 14 and had just grown 8.5" in the last two years, I don't think lifting weights would have been good for his body.
During evaluations for the High School team the coach asked the kids which positions they played, Billy said first base but didn't give a 2nd position because he thought that he could show his playing ability the best at first base. Turns out that first base is where they put the kids that pitch when they aren't pitching. It seems to me that the coach could have mentioned that to him. Bite tongue again. Billy has played pretty much everywhere, but first base was what he felt that was best at.

It's not about "sour grapes" that my kid didn't make the team. It's not really about baseball at all. It's about everyone being given a fair shot, it's about looking at the facts that are there instead of who's who, it's about politics being in places where they shouldn't be...but most of all it's about watching a really good kid have his dreams get squashed without a second thought. It's darned hard.

On a lighter note, I don't think I could be more proud of how he's handled it all. He's not giving up, he's keeping his chin up. He's planning on trying to get on the team next year. He's handled it with dignity and grace....I wonder where he learned all that, it sure wasn't from me!

Back to the flowers. Forget-me-nots. I think I better go out and smell those roses again....because even with curve balls every now and then, life is pretty darned good.

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