Baseball, bullying and band aids

@#$%!!!

… The bases are loaded.  Before the next batter steps up on the plate, a voice from somewhere near the dug-out of the fielding team calls out… “Third baseman! When the ball goes your way, tag the other runner out then throw to home, okay? Don’t forget, throw to home!!” 

No, it wasn’t the voice of the coach. It was the voice of third-baseman’s-dad-who’s-not-even-parent-coach.

Ball goes to third baseman’s direction.  It was a drive that third baseman failed to block properly.  Third baseman fumbles then gets the ball.  Runner from second was already safe at third.  Third baseman throws to home but was a couple of seconds too late.  The opposing team earned a point.

Then came the voice — again — from the not so distant dug-out…  getting very near the third base.

“&$%@ Why didn’t you block properly?! @$%@ I told you to throw to home!  Why didn’t you throw the ball right away??!”

And as if that wasn’t enough…  “Next time you move faster.  And you listen to what I tell you!! “

Third baseman just stares at the source of the tirade. Nobody else says a word.  But the whole field could feel the tension.

~ * ~

I love baseball.  Ever since my son started playing the sport, I easily became a baseball mom.  Despite the heat — or at times the rain, despite the early mornings and the long hours, I can still honestly say that I enjoy watching the games. 

Over the years, I have made friends with different parents.  Parents of my son’s teammates… parents of the kids from the opposing teams.  Somehow one cannot help but get to know most of them, specially since our kids always play together or against each other year in and year out.

I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends.  I like warm and friendly people.  People who make you feel like you’re part of one big happy family.  People whose children you would want your child to be friends with, as well.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everybody’s just nice to each other??

Yet there are the  “others.”  In my book, they are the “special ones.”  Special because they seem to contradict every parenting belief that I have or that I adhere to.  Somehow, you listen to them and you just want to shake your head in disbelief.

I don’t really understand how some people can just berate their kids in front of — well, everyone watching the game.  The scenario above is not a work of fiction.  Truly, there are parents who can’t seem to keep themselves from getting angry at their child in front of everybody.  And it’s not even just mild anger… they go ballistic when their child fumbles, and shouts at the poor kid right there in the middle of the diamond, during the game. 

How humiliating can that be?

~ * ~

a family that shouts together...

As parents, we have to be careful about how we react or respond to situations.  When watching tournaments like these, sometimes the game gets so intense that the parents get involved… too involved even.  Unfortunately, there are those who can’t seem to control themselves and who berate their children right then and there.  Like fumbling is a mortal sin and the child deserves to be punished for making a mistake.  

I remember seeing this father and son tandem before… Son plays shortstop, father coaches from the bleachers (unsolicited coaching).   Everytime the child makes a move, the dad tells him what the next move should be.  Dad probably thinks he holds a remote control and the son is supposed to be controlled.   Whenever the child fumbles, the dad with his ever booming voice calls out the boy’s name and points out the mistake.   Does the child clam up when the dad’s scolding him?  No way.  Son answers back.  Shouts at the dad, as well.  Every single person on the field — playing or not — could hear the exchange.  One can only wonder how things go when they are back home. 

So, do we blame the child for being disrespectful?  Isn’t he just looking after himself since as we all witnessed, the dad was giving him a barrage of expletives in front of everybody?

Shouldn’t parents be the first ones to show respect to their own kids for the latter to know what respect really means?

~ * ~

Worst and most immature reaction I have witnessed so far in a baseball game: 
Runner rammed into 2nd baseman on the field.  2nd baseman fell to the ground, writhed in pain… Father of the runner stood up from where he was sitting… raised his hand with balled fist and cheered their school cheer.  Looked so happy and proud that a player from the opposing team got hurt.

Unbelievable. What was this parent teaching his kid, as well as the other children who saw him?  That it’s okay to hurt your opponent as long as you get ahead? 

Isn’t that what you call bullying?

~ * ~

scarred for life

We encourage our children to join sports because of the many positive things that they will learn.  They learn about discipline, hard work, teamwork…  Sports can bring out the best in our kids, make them want to give their all always.  And during those times when they lose a game, they still learn something from the experience.  They learn about humility. They learn about standing up again after a mistake or a loss.   This is what parents should foster in their kids.  How to be magnanimous in victory and how to lose with grace.

My heart breaks everytime I see a child being publicly humiliated by his own parents.  I am outraged when adults bully children who are one third their age.  It is just so low.  Because tournament or no tournament, at the end of the day, it is still just a game. 

In time, the scores will be forgotten.  But the scars in the child’s psyche… well, that will stay.  And that stays for a very long time.

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

photo via google images and weheartit.com

And then there was… baseball

from dusk 'til dawn

It was another baseball weekend.

Two full days of tournament.  On Saturday my son’s team played two games, on Sunday they played three.  Since they kept playing, it also meant that they kept winning (losing two games means the team should start packing ‘coz they’re going home).  They could have reached and won the championship game if only the last two teams they played against were not that good.  But well, all the teams played to win.  Our team came in third.  Not bad for a new team.

To say that it was an exhausting weekend would be an understatement.   The long day, the heat, the waiting in between games truly sucked the energy out of me.  At some point during the day, I was already starting to imagine what my alternate self in my alternate universe would have been doing on that weekend.  Probably Christmas shopping.  Alternate SGM was joyously strolling at the airconditioned mall, shopping for Christmas gifts, looking so pristine while sipping her favorite iced mocha.   The real ME on the other hand, spent the two days under the sun and the heat and the occasional drizzle.  With sand and soil on my shoes and my pants.  I was the perfect poster girl for the Sahara desert. 

When we got back home Sunday evening, I was just so tired.  Dead tired. 

~ * ~

happiness in a glove

Enough of the whining, though, because I know that despite the heat and the exhaustion, it was a good weekend for all of us baseball parents who were there to watch and cheer for our boys.  We had food, we had drinks.   And do you know of people who are very gifted at entertaining others?  Well, we had those, too.  Ergo, we had laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. 

It is really nice when parents get together for a certain goal. Ours was to extend whatever support our kids needed… not only to win the games, but for them to learn from the actual experience, as well.  So whether they win or lose, our prayer was that they take something valuable home with them. 

It is not always just about the skills that the child develops when he does sports.  It is also about the values that he learns.  The life lessons that he will bring with him as he gets older.  It is also about the memories that these children build individually and even as a team.

And to be part of those memory-building moments… isn’t that what parenting is about?

*** *** *** *** ***

next blog:  Parenting from the Other Side… (The kind of parent you wouldn’t want to be). Watch out for it.  I still have to collect my thoughts. As I said, I was dead tired over the weekend, I haven’t really recovered yet.

photo via weheartit.com

 

Passion and Purpose

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Journal

I believe I mentioned in one of my posts before that I always carry a small notebook with me wherever I go.  One will never know when great inspiration will strike, so I always want to be ready for such moment. 

Said notebook has scribbles of thoughts and ideas, some are drafts of my blog pieces or magazine articles, and then there are the quotes from movies, tv shows or from real people.  Quotes that made an impact on me that I knew I had to jot down for future use.

Yesterday as I was looking at the notebook, rereading old drafts, I saw a quote that was sandwiched between two varying articles. It was written almost illegibly… with the pen’s ink near-death, I could hardly decipher the last few words.  I realized though the it must have been important, or else I wouldn’t even bother trying to write it down.  

Here is something worth sharing and pondering on…

“The only life worth living is one that you’re really passionate about.”

Are you living your passion? 

Don’t you think it’s about time?

 

*** *** *** *** ***

(I had to google where the quote came from, since I really couldn’t remember where I heard it from and I why wrote it down.  I found out that it was a line delivered by Emma Pillsbury to Will Schuester in the pilot episode of Glee.)

*Yes, I have been using a Coffee Bean journal for three years now.  Writing and Coffee Bean… two things I am passionate about.

 photo via google image; chroniclesofagypsy.blogspot.com

Sweet Sixteen

the girl, the guy and the geek

One of my favorite movies when I was young was Sixteen Candles. 

It was a sweet high school love story about a shy and awkward sophomore girl (played by Molly Ringwald) who was secretly in love with a popular senior guy (who was played by this hottie whose name escapes me at the moment).  To complete the triangle was a geeky freshman (Anthony Michael Hall) who in turn had the hots for Molly Ringwald’s character. 

Molly Ringwald’s character had to struggle getting through the day of her 16th birthday, after everybody in her whole family forgot about it because they were all busy preparing for her big sister’s wedding the following day.  This plus the fact that she is secretly madly in love with a senior guy who she knew was “way up there” — popular, dates the prom queen kind of guy —  and someone who doesn’t know that she exists.  As an aside:  I still remember the guy’s name in the movie… Jake Ryan… it stuck to me somewhat.  But for the life of me, I cannot remember the actor’s name.

Yes, Sixteen Candles depicts what high school life is about.  Shy, awkward girls… popular and attractive guys… prom queens… geeks and nerds… it’s about wanting to be noticed… the dream of belonging to the ‘popular’ group… the fantasy of dating the cutest jock… the fear of coming out of one’s shell because other people may not be too accepting… the experience of being madly in love — and thinking that young love means forever after…

When you are young, everything seems promising.  Scary, but promising. 

I honestly wouldn’t mind being 16 again.

~ * ~

do you remember?

I had my first “boyfriend” several months before I turned sixteen.  The quotation marks are intentional (picture me doing the sign with my fingers as I say the word boyfriend).  It was a shortlived thingy, not even worthy enough to be called a relationship.  There were other guys that I really liked more before him, but this guy called me his “girlfriend” so I guess that was how he became my “boyfriend.”  (Give me a break, I was only 15 then!)

I think I liked this guy because I found him cute.  Eventually I realized that cuteness doesn’t make a relationship.  We had nothing in common, basically had nothing to talk about, plus I was afraid that my parents will find out (and ground me ’til I’m thirty), so after three weeks of being cute together, we broke up.  After that so-called relationship, I realized that I wasn’t really ready to have a boyfriend.  Or at least, if I would have one, it would be someone I truly felt something for. 

And so I celebrated my 16th birthday being boyfriend free. 

We had our high school Christmas dance about a week after my birthday.  Met this other guy at the dance.  We were both seniors, but I never really talked to him before that night.  He was a jock, seemed pretty reserved, not exactly too friendly.  He stepped on my toes while we were dancing with other people (believe me, it happens!)… and that was the first time I noticed him.  We exchanged smiles after that.

We started hanging out the moment we got back from the Christmas break.  Eventually we got to know each other better.  I never called him my boyfriend, but both my friends and his friends knew we were a pair.    I didn’t see anyone else while we were going out.  Ours was pretty exclusive for another non-relationship. 

Do you remember how the days seem to be long and the weeks and months are endless while you’re in high school?  It seemed like I spent a good deal of time with Guy #2.  And then graduation came, then summer vacation… then we were off to college.  Once again I realized that I wasn’t ready for a committed relationship.  I knew that things will not be the same once we’re in different universities.  So I did what I had to do. 

I ended it.  I told the guy I didn’t want to get too serious.  I wanted to see other people.  I thought I was being noble by being honest with my feelings.  Didn’t realize, though, that I was breaking up with him right around the same time he was going to celebrate his birthday…

Okay, so I was the ex-non-girlfriend from hell.  I don’t think I ever redeemed myself in the eyes of that guy.

~ * ~

I saw both guys last year when our batch had the 20th yr. homecoming. 

Guy #1 chatted with me for a very long time.  I never saw someone still so thrilled to see me, even after all these years.  At some point he had to grab another person to take our picture so we will finally have a picture together.  I think I ended up having a gazillion pictures with Guy#1 that night — taken by different people, using different cameras.  He just wouldn’t let up.  He was so excited he almost looked 16 again.

Guy#2 saw me… then ignored me.  I didn’t know whether to say hi or to apologize for what happened twenty years ago.  Honestly, I didn’t know if there was something to apologize for.  And so I also ended up ignoring him, as well.  We pretty much ignored each other the whole night. 

Maybe I am making too much of a big deal out of something that had happened two decades ago.  I mean, surely he shouldn’t be holding a grudge until now.  It’s not like I wanted to hurt him on purpose.  He married another schoolmate of ours a couple of years into college, they now have two grown kids…   surely he should have already forgotten about what I did.  Maybe, maybe not.

What I realized that night was that we all create impressions on people.  Some are good, some are bad.  It all depends on how we treat people at a point in time.  Believe me, it feels much better knowing that the thought or the memory you leave imprinted in their minds is something you can be proud of and not be sorry about. 

~  *  ~

At the end of Sixteen Candles, popular guy Jake waited for Molly Ringwald’s character to come out of the church after her sister’s wedding.  And then they celebrated her 16th birthday… freeze to the last frame where they were sitting on top of a table with a cake with sixteen candles all lit up, about to have their first kiss. Sweet!>  The sixteen year old in me still gushes whenever I picture that scene in my head.

fairy tale ending

Well, I think that’s what young  love is all about.  You get the guy, you lose the guy… sometimes you let go of the guy, other times, he lets go of you.  Yet unlike in the movies where you can freeze the frame for a very long time (until your player conks out), in real life, you move on… whether with the same person or not. 

But what’s good is that at 16, whether you love or you lose, one thing is certain… you have your whole life ahead of you to enjoy the good and still have the chance to make the wrong things right.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Note:  The actor who played the role Jake Ryan was Michael Schoeffling. (Thank you wikipedia!)

photos via google image

The List

...and the countdown begins

The other day I opened my file that says “Xmas List” and decided it’s about time that I update it.  

I made a template for said list years back.  It starts with “Immediate Family,” followed by “Relatives from Side A,” then “Relatives from Side B.”  Next in line will be “Godchildren,” then  “Mommy/Daddy Friends from School,”  then  “Son’s Friends from School/Baseball Teammates,” then “Personal Friends.”  This will be followed by the “Teachers and Coaches” and then “Business Staff/People.”  Believe it or not, I also have the names of the staff of my favorite establishments — the ones who are really nice to me– as well as the guards at the mall. 

Every year, I update the list.  I remove some names… like of the ones who are out of the country, or those people I haven’t seen nor talked to in years… or my son’s old classmates who are no longer his classmates… or old teachers who are no longer his teachers… 

The hardest to remove are the names of the ones who passed away.   Somehow, by keeping their names on the list, it feels like they are still around. (Sigh.)

To retain order in the universe, of course by removing names, I know that there is a big chance that there are new names that will be added.  A new godchild… a new teacher… that really nice barista at Coffee Bean who knows what to make for me even before I enter the store… a whole new set of chosen classmates and friends for the schoolyear… a whole new set of baseball teammates… the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker…

… and the list goes on. And on. And on.  For some reason, it is much easier to add than remove names. 

~*~

were you naughty or nice?

I like Christmas shopping.  Okay, so I love shopping, period.  That’s a given.  But there is something about Christmas shopping that gives me a certain sense of thrill.  I like thinking about what to give this or that person.  I try to think hard about what the recipient will truly appreciate.  It is not always easy.  I do have a budget to stick to.  And considering I give gifts yearly, well I do run out of ideas.

Yet despite that, I still think it’s fun.  No, it’s more than fun. It’s exhilarating.  You should see me coming out of a mall or a bazaar after a Christmas shopping spree… you will surely see that big smile plastered on my face.  My feet may be complaining, but my smile will still be there. 

Ticking all the names on my list is quite a feat.  One friend commented that I seem to have a corporate budget given the number of people I want to give gifts to.  And given that it’s already mid-November and I haven’t really started tackling the list, I will need to manage not just the budget but the time, as well, if I want to finish shopping for this Christmas.

But the ever positive shopper in me is not perturbed.  For one, I know that when you give out of the goodness of your heart, then it shouldn’t be difficult.  You will get something back in return.  I believe in provision.  I believe that as I give — cheerfully, if I may add– I will also receive something… whether it’s more shopping time… or more budget… or a genuinely happy smile from the receiver.. or more gifts that are in turn meant for me.  As shallow as it may sound, the shopping experience, to me, is happiness enough. 

As I look at my Christmas list, in a way, I can’t help but be thankful… because I know that the long list, with tick marks and all, signify that I am provided for.   I give because I have. 

160 names and counting… and I’m saying, bring it on!

~*~

Note at the end of this year’s shopping list says:

Remember: You are blessed to be a blessing!

 

 

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

photos via weheartit.com

Judge and be judged

the imperfect storm

Mom: I am thinking of setting up a business for your brother and you.

Daughter:  What’s that got to do with me?

Mom: Because if you don’t help him out, I will really make you take up law. 

Daughter: (looking totally clueless) Huh?

Mom:  You should be a lawyer.  I want you to be a judge someday.  You will be happy if you are a judge.  You shouldn’t waste your intelligence… 

Daughter:  Who said I’m not happy?!  (Big sigh)

Sounds like a storm is brewing.

~*~

Initially, one would see nothing wrong with the above conversation. 

I suppose it is but normal for parents to tell their children what they want their children to become…  what path they suggest their children to take.  Out of love and concern for our kids, we parents, most often than not try to persuade them to choose a certain direction.  Of course our choices are based on our own personal experiences, as well.  We teach based on what we know.  We try to influence our children based on how we lived life and we think that what made us succeed will do the same for them.  We just want them to be successful and to be happy.

Nothing is wrong with offering suggestions.  Nothing is wrong with telling your child you dream of him or her to be this or that someday…

Not unless you are talking to a 35+ yr old. A mother of an 11yr old, with her own family unit– her own household– and a dog, to boot.    Someone who has been independent and has been taking care of her family, as well as other people’s family, for the past decade. 

You simply cannot tell that person, even if she were your own child, that you know what will make her happy. 

Because you don’t.   

~ * ~ 

I have mentioned several blogs back (see Highlight of My Day) about how I decided to veer away from the corporate life and chose to be a domestic goddess.  I believe I also mentioned that I came from a career-oriented family.  I knew that a lot of people didn’t understand why I made such choice. I knew a lot of them questioned why I chose being a full-time-rah-rah-mom over working for some company that would give me a nice title before my name.   

I didn’t mind, really.  I believed that having a peaceful family life, with a happy, loving — not to mention, very intelligent– child was more than enough to make me feel successful.  I derive my self-fulfillment from having the chance to make memories with my son.  I never really craved for any other title.  It’s not something that I miss having because I am happy where I am.  Like what I always say, to each his own.

But then hearing my mom telling me a few days ago that being a lawyer or a judge would make me “happy” really almost made me blow my top.  At that moment, the only thing I could think of was how little she thought of me… and how little she knew of me

It was pretty sad, really.  Sad not because what she said made me feel small about myself, but more because I don’t think she truly understands the happiness I get out of being a mother.  Obviously, she gets her sense of happiness elsewhere… while I derive joy from being with the people I love, doing things with and for them, sharing moments with them.

~ * ~

My mom has always been career-oriented. We never faulted her for that.  My siblings and I grew up under the care of a nanny who stayed with us until she was 85.  When our nanny passed away last year, my sister and I (being the two older ones) really felt like we lost a big part of us, as well.    My mom never understood why we cried so much.

Now in her 60’s, my mom is still happily working… proud to keep her title of being an attorney, and every other title possible, depending on her position.  Because of her present position, she got assigned in a faraway place, gets to come home only once or twice a month.  She is still happy, though.  She has reached the pinnacle of her career… 

Our weekends are spent with lunches, dinners or coffee dates with my dad, my sister and her family and my brother.  Without our mom, though, because she’s somewhere else.  We share moments here as a family, while she’s out there somewhere, socializing with the lawyers and judges like herself.  And oh yeah, she’s working, too.

She doesn’t realize that while she’s out there happily being a Somebody, I am back here taking care of her household.   I run their errands, manage their househelp, do their groceries.  My sister and I take turns staying with or inviting our dad over when he needs company.  When my brother went through some rough spot, I was there to give him whatever guidance or support he needed. 

So, maybe I don’t have a title other than “mom.”  I don’t introduce myself as Atty. So and so or Dr. Something something.  Not even Supermodel Someone.  I also see no reason to introduce myself as Writer Me when I meet with my son’s teachers or my other co-parents.  I simply see no point nor reason to.  But being ‘untitled’ doesn’t mean I am less busy, nor does it make my life less significant.

Maybe she is happy being what and where she is.  But that doesn’t mean that I am NOT happy being who or what I am.

~ * ~

What really brings you joy? Think about it.

SGM : We all have different sources of happiness.  I am happy with my family.  I am happy that I get to write.  I am happy with my life… Besides, i don’t want to be a judge. To me, it’s just a title.  

And that was how the storm ended. 

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

photos via google images