My 10 year old son Noah had a game yesterday. He plays for the Dodgers and they played the undefeated Phillies. The Dodgers took a three run lead into the last inning and lost it, mostly on a throwing error my son made from shortstop. I was so bummed. I would like to tell you I don’t care and he’s only 10 and all I want him to do is have fun, but I would be lying. I was bummed. Mostly because the Phillies have 15 crazy- over-the-top-Dad coaches. They also have a bunch of kids who break out in huge crying fits at the drop of a hat. And they do it about 20 times a game. Don’t they know there’s no crying in baseball? What part of “A League of Their Own” don’t they understand?
Anyway, they might be great kids and great Dad coaches, but they just bug and I would’ve loved to see them get waxed. And they would’ve if Noah hadn’t chucked a routine grounder away. He was fine after the game. He actually had fun and had an air of “if this is the worst thing that can happen to me on the field, then that’s not so bad”. It was cool.
I’ve personally been through that situation (losing a game for the team) many times in my career and there’s nothing anyone can say at the time to make it better. You just go through it and move on. It’s a different deal being a Dad and watching my son go through it. Part of me wants to hug him, part of me wants to yell at him to bear down, and part of me wants to let him know that making mistakes is part of baseball and life in general. I keep thinking back to the times I made mistakes and recalling how I felt and how my Dad talked to me or yelled at me or whatever.
So I really didn’t do anything. I asked him if he had fun (yes), told him I loved him, told him I was proud of him, kissed him, and tucked my daughter in to bed and then went to bed myself. In the morning over breakfast, he asked me what the worst game I ever had was. That was too hard to answer (too many) but I told him a story about me playing for Grampa at Orange Coast and striking out to lose a game.
I asked him what his was, and he said last night’s with a smile, and a glint in his eye that told me he was gonna be alright. The little bugger kind of liked it. He liked the challenge. He liked the drama. He likes winning and at least in this instance, he lost gracefully. Damn, he just might be a ballplayer after all.