Why Mothers Have Gray Hair
So far, we're one and one.
The first game, we fought hard, but lost 5-0. The other team scored five runs in the first inning. Our lead off pitcher was struggling a bit and loaded up the bases. Then, a player on the opposing team hit one over the fence. Ouch.
We held them for seven innings with some excellent fielding and pitching, but we just couldn't seem to get any runs on the board.
The next game, we won 22-6. The first pitch of the game, our lead off batter hit one over the fence, which of course, was a great way to start the game and boost morale.
We were, quite simply, on fire. We were pitching well, we were fielding well, we were hitting well.
I felt really badly for the the other team. We've been there, more than once. And it's not fun. They rallied for a while, but then the fight just went right out of them. It was very obvious when they just gave up and I wanted to yell encouraging things to them.
Normally, there is what's called a "mercy rule" in which the game is called when one team gets too far ahead. The stipulation for this is 15 runs ahead in the 4th inning, or 10 in the 5th.
The purpose of this rule is to let a team lose with their dignity intact and hopefully, without destroying their morale.
But this is a State Tournament. No run limit. No time limit. No mercy rule.
So we played on.
During the last inning, we could just not get out. Those poor boys just weren't even trying anymore, and the inning dragged on, and on, and on, and on.
Our coach stopped giving the signs to steal. He stopped sending batters onto the next base when errors were made. He even instructed one batter to bunt on the 2nd strike, which is an automatic out.
It was brutal.
But that's not what I wanted to tell you about, really.
My son pitched the first three innings, when the other team still had some fight in them. Despite the crushing loss, they were really a quite competent team. They had some very strong batters. It just so happened that thay day, we were fielding better than they were batting.
There was a moment during that game, when I feared my son had been mortally wounded. It's the kind of moment that every pitcher's mother dreads.
Pubescent One threw a beautiful pitch right over the plate. It was thrown hard and it was hit hard...straight back at Pubescent One. It was hit so hard that I didn't even see the ball as it shot back at my child's chest. I heard a CRACK, and then, less than a second later, I d heard a sickening SMACK and watched with sick horror as my son grabbed his chest.
It was like....CRACK-SMACK!!
I was on my feet reaching for my cell phone, ready to dial 911, when my son curled upright...and grinned. He held up his glove to show the ump.
He had caught the ball.
Seriously? I almost passed out.
The umpire called time, walked out to the mound and spoke to my son briefly. They both laughed, and then the Ump patted him on the shoulder and returned to his position behind the plate.
Soon after that the inning ended and the team made their way into the dug out. I went over to talk to Pubescent One.
"Dude, c'mere." I said, crooking my finger at him.
When he was bent toward me, grinning, I said,
"Do you need to change your underwear?" I joked.
"HA! That's what the Umpire said Mom!"
"Did he really?"
"Well do you?"
"No. But that did scare the crap out of me."
"Me too, Dude. Don't do that again."
"It wasn't me! It was the batter! I just reacted. That was nothing but luck, Mom."
"Don't I know it babe."
Gah. You try to make good choices for your kids, minimize risks, assess danger. But you can't keep them safe from everything, no matter how hard you try. Not unless you shut them away from the world.
Sometimes I think that's not such a bad idea.