I am not sure where to begin today except the beginning. Yesterday's game in Virginia started at 3 pm. Tink and I had the laptop open with the University's Game tracker on. If you have ever "watched" a game on Game tracker, you are really watching a screen with immobile pegs designated as players. If someone gets a hit, the peg moves. That's it. The pegs are identified as players who are currently in the game. A person could be watching this screen for three hours and have very little movement. Yet,under the virtual field, there is a synopsis of the game from batter to batter. Also, there is no sound. So, a person could be sitting in front of the computer screen and wait for several minutes for an update.
With that said, our own Buddy made it into the game in the fourth inning. No one was more shocked than me. I haven't missed an inning all season and I missed seeing him enter the game. His dad called from work and alerted me, so I began to watch the immobile pegs on the screen with a great deal of intensity.
The first batter that he faced....strike-out....(oh yeah!). Based on his previous game, I figured that he was done and would not see action for another three weeks. Wrong! He stayed in the game. One run was scored through the three innings that he pitched. It was unearned and on 2 fielder's errors. However, in the 3 innings, he struck out 4 batters and walked two. No other runs were scored and once he walked two batters in a row, he was taken out of the game. The team went on to win in 11 innings 6-1. This was very exciting. I was actually encouraging the team in my little virtual world. When he struck out a player, we would clap...when his photo flashed onto the screen, we cheered....so, we sat on the sofa, watched the screen, ate goldfish (cheddar, not real ones) and drank merlot....it was almost like being there (OK, not really...).
With that said, he called when he got back to his room. I could tell through the phone that he was smiling and very happy, yet humble and subdued. It was a long time coming. He faced a number of obstacles along the way. There were people including his own high school coaches who did not believe in his talents and skills. Therefore, this was a wonderful moment for him. The big kid mentioned that he began to fatigued and could not locate his pitches and therefore was taken out of the game. We both agreed that this is a function of conditioning and there is a reason for hard work pre and during the season. We finished the conversation with him revealing his plans to go to out to a place where you can eat all the wings you want for $6.00. Yum....not....
I looked at the university's website for a post game summary. The writer used adjectives like 'sensational' and 'force on the mound.' This article was very complimentary and I will download it and add it to his scrap book. However, once we celebrated this terrific feat, we go back to reality. The reality is....you are only as good as your last pitch....you continue to work hard to improve and perfect your skills...you do not sit back and rest on your laurels....Lastly, as high as you are today, you can be just as low tomorrow...there are no guarantees that he will enter a game soon or pitch as well. So it is very important to keep all emotions in check and take it day by day..game by game...pitch by pitch, in order to stay sane. I sound like I am a downer....but I am not.
I know that the guys work hard to move to the top. They work even harder to stay there...some day, they will drop to the bottom again and he has to handle each victory and defeat the same...with grace and dignity....I always felt that the measure of a person is not in the way that they handled victory...but in the way that they handle defeat and adversity.
The following poem by Rudyard Kipling has been quoted in our home over and over again by Buddy's dad. Generally, I don't listen when he brings Kipling up, but this resonates as a great way to end this post...have a great day....
If by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with King – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!