Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Beginning 5th Chapter

Have you ever had peppermint coffee? Sounds gross...but it's not. I bought some leftover from Christmas and it is pretty tasty.....like a coffee peppermint patty (without the calories)

Sorry for the incomplete post yesterday, but I had an appointment in the city and was running late. It's icy today, so I will probably have another abbreviated post.....

Back to 8th grade....one would think that as an 8th grader, a kid would be on top of the mountain (elementary school-wise)...and yes, in a way, they are. Yet there are so many hidden pressures especially for the kids with big dreams and goals. They want it all and begin to realize that the only way to attain their goals is by working hard. This is something that many adolescent boys do not want to hear or do. They want everything....they want it yesterday...and they do not want to work for it. This is probably a generalization, but it is my personal experience after witnessing a class at an all boys school come of age. However, there is the inherent competition that comes with the gender and adolescence. Who is the smartest? The most athletic? Most handsome? Who has the most friends? Invitations to parties? Awards?

I watch the kids and wonder how I ever got through this time of my life. Sure, there were pressures, but they were different. We all knew where we were going to high school. No one had a car, we walked everywhere, and we knew that we had to work for what we had since it was not handed to us. (I am preaching...sorry...it's the educator in me).

Oops...this blog is about Buddy, not me.....Ok, so finally, the letter of acceptance came in February. It was an acceptance to the school of his choice. We celebrated with a cake and special dinner. Then it was back to work. Early March approached and Buddy prepared for the season by hitting in the batting cages and continuing his pitching lessons with Coach Phil. He also played indoors with a local high school team. The coach tried to recruit Buddy to attend his high school. However, once Buddy turned him down, the coach distanced himself and was rather nasty during the rest of the indoor season. I remember him being nasty and condescending to the kids. He yelled at them and was a bit of a bully. I was glad when this season was over.

The light finally appeared as the days of chasing balls into the woods, sitting on the bench, keeping the score book, carrying the water coolers, and lining up the bats like crayons were over. It was his time to be the big man as an 8th grader, but he was more like the 4th big man. There were players ahead of him who were considered the best on the team. Buddy decided to work harder. As the line-ups were posted, it seemed that he was going to bat fourth. This is an honor and a big stressor. The 4th guy in the line up is the "clean up" hitter. He is expected to hit the ball and move the players on base and bring them in to score like Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard. Right away, I noticed his posture had changed. He felt the pressures of being the 4th batter. Be careful what you wish for....once you get it, you have to stay on the top of the heap and that can make a kid and mom worry.

Why does a mother worry? Why doesn't she? What mother does not worry? Name one....I worry about everything when it comes to my children....their minds...their bodies...health...their spirit...everything....this parenting thing, as wonderful as it is, it has a life of its own. I never relax when it comes to the kids. They are aging into young adults and I am aging into a ball of nerves concerned for their welfare and happiness. I don't want to see them hurt mentally or physically, yet I cannot prevent life from happening. I can only watch and celebrate the highs and support them through the lows.

So, as a contact hitter, he never struck out. He may have grounded or flied out, but he never struck out. This was pretty impressive. Over the years, I only saw him strike out a few times, then I got his eyes checked by the doctor, contact lenses were adjusted and he saw the ball better. Last year, I took him to have his eyes checked and his prescription was changed. The next game, he hit several rbi's and a home run.

Back to St A's, the kids won their district championship. There was a play off game on a cool, misty day in May. They played their best and beat the first place team to enter into the regionals. With two outs in the final inning and the go ahead runs on base, the opposing team batter hit a ball between first and second base....Buddy dove at the ball and caught it mid air...He rolled in the mud and held his glove up with the ball in it to validate that it was a clean catch (although his uniform was really dirty, the catch was clean). It was time to celebrate the day's victory. It was a great time with trophies and congratulatory hand shakes. The kids celebrated as they were the district champs. Yet, with the regional play offs the next day, it was Buddy's turn to pitch and start the game. He got his wish....he was to start in the biggest game of the year against the number one team in the archdiocese....

More tomorrow....

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