Confessions of a Baseball Mom
We’ve just finished my first season as a Baseball Mom. I’m not exactly new to the sports scene, as I am raising a football player whose jersey I’ve been stain-treating for many years now. But this was our first season of baseball, and that, my friends, was a whole different ball game.
My son’s dad loved football in the core of his being, and he instilled that deep love into our oldest son before he died six years ago. In my years as a single mom, in my determination to not flee from the things I didn’t understand, Tuck and I walked carefully onto the sidelines of his first football team. I learned important things. For example, it’s called practice, not rehearsal. They wear uniforms, not costumes. And it’s called eye black, not football mascara.
A year ago, I married Peter, the new dad our family had long prayed for. He brought a whole new heartbeat to our family, including a passion for baseball. He helped Tucker to understand that a man need not isolate with just one sport, and he educated us all with the names of many dual athletes, like John Elway, Michael Jordan, and most interesting to my Bronco-loving boy, Tim Tebow. He taught us all that the same arm that throws a touchdown pass can also pitch a shut-out inning.
And so, on the heels of the football playoffs, we signed up for our family’s first season of baseball. Peter was Coach, and I was the Coach’s Wife. There I was, launched yet again into the throes of a new vocabulary. I soon learned that they score runs, not points. The team is in the dugout, not the sidelines. Some items are transferable, like Gatorade and sunscreen. But I’m still not allowed anywhere near the field, even if my player gets hit in the face with a pitch. (That was a rough day.)
I have to admit, when practices started while there was still snow on the ground in February, the season felt daunting. Football gave us one game a week; baseball sometimes called for two or three games in a weekend. In those early days, I felt like the end of the season was a whole marathon away. I wasn’t sure when we’d ever have a free weekend or even dinner together.
But now it’s over, and I’m sad. It can’t be over yet, not when I just learned how to recognize my player from a hundred yards away with the sun shining in my eyes, how to spot him in a sea of red baseball caps. It took me weeks to learn the first names that go with the numbers on their jerseys without having to check the list on my phone, only to then learn that the best coaches give each player a nickname, so I’d need to begin again.