The team is playing four games this weekend (with 26 games in 26 days to follow) on the other side of the state and had to leave this morning at 8 am on the bus. Last night after the second loss in a row (2-1), the coach announced the starting pitchers for the next week. Buddy was not one of them. Picture in your mind a huge mushroom cloud after an explosion....did you envision it? Yes? Well, I lived it. To say that he was 'salty' would be minimizing his anger. So, as I dropped off Mr. Salty this morning at the local college, I had some private time to reflect on his anger.
This is a mother's perspective. I am trying to be objective and look at the big picture but I really cannot figure this one out. Buddy played more than any other pitcher during the college season except for one player on the team. He had the lowest ERA and played in a competitive conference. He pitched on television in some of the team's biggest games. He struck out players that were just drafted by Major league teams. Whereas the other pitchers are from lower Division I or even lower II/III schools. Their statistics do not even begin to compare to Buddy's. Further, the pitching coach works at a satellite campus of a small division I school.
With that said, I can understand his anger. He cannot believe that even Rat Boy has a start over him. As he puts it: "Every time I talk to him, I feel my IQ dropping...." It's a nasty statement, but he makes his point.
As he got out of the car this morning, the grumbles and growls were heard in London. He is not happy and wants to go home and leave this town. However, the big guy is a natural competitor. He is not going down without a fight even if he complains all the way. He will make the most out of it as he confers with his friend Hoosier and texts me while he is on the bus.
So, what's a kid to do? First, he has to get over his anger and buckle down. With so many games, kids injure their arms and they need someone to step in a take over. Second, he was always under rated by coaches, what's the big difference here? Once again, he has to prove himself and show them that he can be their ace pitcher. I think that this is what competition is all about, working harder than the other guy. Sadly, I would say that you let your statistics do the talking, but in this case, the coaches can't read. I did a check and comparison of the pitchers' stats and Buddy's were the best by far.
Last night after the game, he told me that his fast ball was clocked at 89 the night before when he was on the mound. He was 'bummed' that he did not hit 90. With that statement, I told him to focus on his goals. Goal 1: hit 90 mph on the fast ball. Goal 2: develop another pitch. If he achieves those goals, this summer will be considered a success.
Would I like to pack it all in this weekend and head east? Sure...you bet...when can we go? But that is not going to happen. A commitment was made and he will honor it no matter how tough it gets. This is what trying to make it to the big leagues is all about...competing just to get noticed...competing for mound time...competing to be the strongest...fastest...smartest...As much as this hurts him, once he is able to think rationally, he will see that it is the best thing that could of happened....short of being home, asleep in bed, and dreaming about achieving his dream. It won't happen by just wanting it...it will only happen with physical grit and determination....in that case, I have no doubts....This is just another speed bump on the road to the big leagues.