As a dad, I always think I'll be able to handle situations as they happen. Always be able to find the words to explain why the world is the way that it is.
Our son played his first Little League game ever. He has played soccer in the past, but seemed disinterested by the sport. So I signed him up to play baseball. It was the sport I grew up with and loved as a kid.
My family moved back to California from England in 1982. In England, even on an Air Force Base, the only sport for kids was soccer. When we moved back to the U.S., baseball and "flag" football were the only sports. I fell in love with baseball. I would throw a tennis ball against one of the walls in our backyard, pretending I was playing a full 9 inning game. After Little League I continued to play....all the way through High School.
So when our middle son said he wanted to try baseball, I was excited. As parents, we see little pieces of ourselvesin our kids. The only issue was that he had NEVER played. He's always been quick to pick up on things. He learned how to ride a bike the first time he really tried. No training wheels....nothing. Jake completely skipped T-ball...and is playing in the minors...against a pitching machine. In his first scrimmage, he had two hits....and I almost cried. I was so proud of our son..and he could tell how proud we were of him. It was ALL he talked about after his scrimmage. How he had hit a "double"....and had another hit.
This past Saturday was his first "real" game. Obviously I was far more nervous than he was. He got dressed in his full baseball uniform for the first time...and was ready to go. As an athlete at any age, the uniform is the best part. Putting it on, you feel like part of something....a team. And most of the time you can't wait to play. During the game, I was a mess. I couldn't stand near the other parents....and each time he came up to bat, I would just whisper to myself.."come on Jakey".
He came up to bat 4 times on Saturday.....and struck out three of those times. He ground out the other time. O for 4 as they call it in baseball. " Oh crap" I thought to myself...."what am I going to say to him?". I was worried. Worried he wouldn't want to play again. His final strike out ended the game. His coaches did a great job of picking him up....but I still had no idea what I was going to say.
As he carried out his bat bag, I tried to read his eyes....problem was he had his cap down over them. So I put my arm around my not so little boy.....and asked how he was doing.....
"We got snacks!!!....How cool is that???"
Sometimes as parents we don't have to find "those words"....we just have to remember they're little kids...on the inside as well as the outside.