Thursday, May 16, 2013

Proud to be his Mom!

This weekend not only marked the celebration of Mother's Day but the start of Little League baseball play-offs.  My son, Matt, plays for Lutz Little League (Minor A).  This season he was on the Yankees.  His team finished the season in 6th place and was selected to play the 3rd place team- the Red Sox.  The first play-off games were to take place on Saturday, May 9th and Matt's game was scheduled for 2:30 pm. 

The game started out well for both teams.  Each team scoring runs in the first few innings- the defense was working together and the pitchers were throwing strikes.  Matt usually positions are first base, center field, and pitcher.  By the final inning, the Yankees were leading the Red Sox 17-9. 

The Yankees took the field in the bottom of the 6th- needing to hold this generous lead.  Coach Erick called Matt to pitch for the final inning.  The adrenaline was pumping, the fans were plenty and the game had taken a few hours.  The Red Sox were hoping to come back in their final bat. 

Photo by Maria Ortiz

Needless to say, Matt did not start out pitching well- he allowed the first 3 batters on base.  With 9 runs needed to win, Matt continued to persevere on the mound.  With the help of his team, 1 out was needed to win.  Quickly the Red Sox's scored 5 runs to tighten the Yankee's lead to 3.  With potential runs on the bases, Matt went to face his good friend, Ty.  On a pass ball, Matt charged from the mound to tag out the stealing runner who slide into his side as he was trying to block the plate.  The player was safe and Matt was down on the ground due to injury.  After being tended to by multiple coaches, Matt gingerly went back on the mound to continue pitching.  He threw a few pitches to warm-up and Ty got back in the box.  A few pitches later, Ty hit a line drive back to Matt which he caught to win the game.  Yankees win 17-15. 

After the celebration of our victory, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.  As I watched Matt battle on the mound for his team, I was proud of his determination to not allow the circumstances of the game to change his attitude.  He kept his head in the game and was able to shake off the runs that were adding up against him.  Even though it was not one of his best pitching efforts, I was very proud of the maturity I witnessed in my son as he focused on the task at hand.  He never wavered even when he was injured- he got right back out there to finish the job his coach had asked him to do.

It was nerve racking to watch the last half inning take place that Saturday.  I knew Matt wasn't pitching his best- I kept looking at his coach in the dug-out, sending subliminal messages to "take him out".  Little did I know that he was it- Matt was the final pitcher for the Yankees.  If we won, we were set to play the following day and needed to hold off a couple of pitchers.  Thankfully Matt was able to finish up the inning and secure the win for his team.

Unfortunately, the Yankees went on to play on Sunday losing 28-22 to the Dodgers. 

Matt has always been competitive and driven to win which at times has been caused tears and bad sportsmanship on his part.  My husband and I have persevered in our parenting, always encouraging and expecting our children to do their best including having a good attitude.  At times we were both utterly embarrassed at the behaviors that Matt exhibited in the dug-out or on the field due to disappointment in his own success at the plate or on the field. 

Photo by Maria Ortiz

BUT.... God is good- though much prayer (on my part) and car ride home talks (on my husband's part), Matt has matured emotionally on the baseball field.  He was able to gain control over his emotions and play with determination and drive- keeping his cool even in the hardest times.

If you have a child who struggles with his or her emotions especially in any competitive arena, let me encourage you to
  • continue to talk to your child about how you expect them to act on or off the field,
  • hold your child accountable for their behavior, and
  • pray for strength and help for yourself and your child.
The baseball field is one place that children begin to experience life and its challenges.  If we teach our children to compete with integrity, good sportsmanship and humility, these character traits will follow them into adulthood and training them to compete in life.

Photo by Maria Ortiz

Proud to be your mom, Matt!


No comments:

Post a Comment