Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baseball as Life



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As a baseball newbie, Aaron was bound to grow exponentially in skill as he spent more time on the craft.  Alas, this past weekend he did worse than the previous weekend: three strikeouts in three at-bats, a couple of balls through the legs, and overall bad body language.

It didn’t help that it was hotter and that we had gone for a run earlier that morning.  Still, you’re 7: shouldn’t you have more pep in your step?

I’m trying really hard not to bang on him too much.  At the same time, sometimes life isn’t easy, and one can say “attaboy” a little too much and give kids a sense that all is right when really what is true is that they are awful and need to practice more. 

I realize baseball isn’t going to be Aaron’s full-time profession; it’s just a game and a fun activity, so there’s no need to treat it like his life depends on it.  Still, I can’t help but think about baseball as a metaphor for life.  Sometimes, life means standing around while nothing happens and all of a sudden the ball is hit to you, and the question is: did you get ready before every single pitch even though 99 percent of them don’t lead to a play to you?  And, sometimes life means not being good at hitting and deciding that you’re going to practice until you get good, and so you develop good habits and hone your craft and then you seize the moment when it’s your turn at bat and hit the cover off the ball. 

For now, I’ve decided to stay on him but also offer affirmation when possible.  He needs to know it’s not my life existence to harangue him for every flaw in his life.  But he also needs to know when he’s not doing something right so he can learn how to fix it so he can get better.  Because getting better at something is fun, and you can’t get better if you don’t change what you’re doing wrong.
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