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.

~ * ~

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? 

~*~

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

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.

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photo via google images and weheartit.com