Facing Your Giants

 

Fearless

We are currently embarking on a big project for my son and his baseball teammates.  We were invited to a week-long, out of town tournament where the boys will be playing against ten teams from different places.  To say that it is a privilege to be invited will be an understatement.  This would be an experience that is good for the boys.  They will be playing as a team… and they will be playing as friends. 

However, since there is an age requirement and the games will not be until July, the more senior players will already move to the next bracket, thus, leaving the younger ones.  But given the fact that they have been playing together for the school for two or three years now they all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  You would think that the confidence will still be there despite the fact that some boys are already moving up.

Talking to the parents about the invitation elicited various reactions, though.  At first most of them were excited… REALLY excited.  They saw that this is a great opportunity for their kid.  It’s not just an interschool tournament… the kids will play against teams from other countries, even.  Some parents were just plain gung-ho.  They were very thankful that their son was given the chance to join the team.   They even offered to help in whatever way they can just to get the team there. Their first question was, “When’s the first practice?”

But then, there were parents whose first reaction was fear.  Followed by doubt.  Coupled with disbelief.   Fear: “What if the boys there are twice as big as our boys?”  Doubt: “We don’t want them to get clobbered.  It will be devastating.” Disbelief: “Are our boys good enough?  Maybe they should send more senior players… ours are mostly at the lower age of the bracket .”  (Goodness, the age level’s 11-12.  It’s either they are 11 OR 12.)

And so the strong team that we saw in the beginning started disappearing right before our eyes.  Mainly because there were parents who apparently didn’t see their kids as good enough to add value to the team.  What they focused on were the big players of the opposing teams.  Players they have not even seen yet. 

It is just plain sad.

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Who's your Giant?

We all have giants to face at some point in our lives. 

Life is like one baseball game… we are all on the same playing field, but the players come in different shapes and sizes.  You don’t always know what or who you will be up against.  That’s why we equip ourselves… we train, we improve our skills, we build our confidence… we try to make ourselves better.   

We ready ourselves so that when time comes that we come face to face with ‘giants,’ we don’t cower in fear.  We slug it out. 

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.  But losing isn’t all that bad if we know that we fought ‘til the end and we gave it our best.  What’s sad is if we give up even before we try.  The game hasn’t begun, yet we have already succumbed to defeat. 

Yes, we don’t always win.  There are giants that are just too big and too powerful.  It is easier to give in to fear and self-doubt.  But then again, what about those times when we win over problems, issues or challenges that seemed bigger than us? What about those times when we made that extra step which led us to victory when all along we thought it was a hopeless situation?  What about those times when we believed in ourselves, our capabilities enough to prove that not every difficult situation is a hopeless one? 

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Thinking about our baseball-parent-friends and their reasons for not wanting their children to join the team… reasons that are basically motivated by fear, I can’t help but feel sad and disappointed.  Here is an opportunity that practically fell on our hands… something that other children (and parents) would die for and could only hope for… But they are willing to let go of the opportunity because of fear.  Fear of losing.  Fear of having bigger opponents.  Fear of things not being easy. 

But then life ISN’T always easy. 

Yes, everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion.  Maybe these parents don’t believe in the other boys enough.  Maybe they don’t believe in their kids enough.  Or maybe they just don’t see the value that this tournament will bring to their child.  I think for my part, I just have to learn to respect their decisions.  I also believe that maybe this is for the best.  We wouldn’t want to have someone in the team whose heart is not in it.  Maybe we are better off with other players who are willing to train, willing to fight, willing to face their giants.

Devastating loss?  I believe that if you give your best, there’s no such thing as a devastating loss.  You may not win the game– but the bonding, the team work, the memories… the over-all experience, these are reasons enough to make one feel victorious. 

Do you only win because you scored higher… or do you win because you lived the experience?

It is all a matter of perspective.

very well said...

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photos via weheartit.com

For the love of the game

 The GQ Eye: GQ

You wake up really early on weekends because you have to bring your son to a baseball game. Even when you’d rather stay home in bed, you trudge along even before the sun is up.  Sometimes you endure a long drive just to get to the venue of the game.

You stay under the sun for several hours.  Under the scorching heat.  Sometimes, no amount of sunblock can keep you from getting toasted.  You still go home feeling (and looking) like a roasted chestnut.  At times you get almost dehydrated — you can’t drink too much since you don’t know where the nearest bathroom is.  Most of the time, you have to cross the whole field to get to the nearest bathroom.  The nearest bathroom is just way too far.

You see different personalities on the field.  The ones to watch out for are on the bleachers.  From the field, you learn about team work, unity and courage.  From the bleachers, you learn about parent-bullies and know-it-alls.  You learn about friendship, too.

You go home tired and feeling drained out after the game.  Sometimes you feel like you were the one on the field playing, not just a mere spectator.  Sometimes you tell yourself you will decide to miss the next game — and the game after that. 

But you know in your heart of hearts that you will still go… that for sure you will be there in the next game, cheering your heart and lungs out.  So why do you still go?  After all the whining and complaining, what makes you go to a game again and again… and again?

Perhaps it’s because you know that your son loves baseball.  It’s because of that smile on his face whenever he is around with his teammates.  It’s because of the discipline that the sport is teaching your child.  It is because you don’t want to miss that hit… or that home run.  And you want to be there when he makes that winning catch… or winning run.

Maybe it’s also because of the new friends you have made while sitting on the bleachers… the parents you end up having weekend barbecues with.  Maybe it’s the friends that your child has gained, being part of a team.  The little boys you know your child will grow up with.

Despite the heat, rain, long drives and long hours, you know that you cannot stay away.  Mainly because you know that the game makes your child happy. 

And perhaps it’s because you wouldn’t want to miss a moment.  Whether it’s a moment of victory or defeat, joy or sorrow, excitement or boredom.  Whatever moment it is, you would want to share it with your child.  You would want to be there.

Or maybe, just maybe, you have grown to love the game, as well.

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photo via: weheartit.com