Like many of you, I’ve been at the baseball field each week for the past three months. Baseball season has caused me to cuss, talk to God and become a better wife, mom, and friend.
I’ve seen and heard a lot of great stories. I’ve watched grown men cry. And I’ve silently wished sometimes, it would all be over.
But, most of all, on the night of the last game of the season, I think about all baseball has taught me.
Here are the Top 7 things baseball has taught me:
#7. Take Time to Look Around
It’s easy to get tunnel-vision while at the ballpark. We get stuck following the ball because, let’s face it, that is where the action is. Strikeouts, hits, defensive plays. They all happen around the ball.
But have you ever looked around a baseball field? It’s beautiful. There is a wonderful cadence at the ballfield. Watch the right fielder, before every pitch, he runs his hand down his left pant leg. Or the third baseman that takes his hat off three times before the pitch is thrown. Hitters are all about habits and sequences. They follow the same routine every time they step up to the plate. Right foot, wiggle, wiggle, left foot makes a line in the sand, the bat hits the plate and stretches across to touch the upper right-hand corner. It’s the same every time. Watching only the ball is the equivalent to listening only to the solo instrument in a complex composition.
It’s easy to get that same tunnel-vision in our lives. We look at what’s right in front of us, and we miss the rest. Baseball has taught me to take time to look around and see all of the little things that are happening around me. (Twenty-five years of packing babies, chairs, blankets, and snacks will make you appreciate the little things.)
#6. You’re never too old to Rally.
So I have a little cheer, I’m known for. Hundreds of boys have heard me chant it. Some of them can hear me in their heads even in major league ballparks. One past player said at his son’s t-ball game, he yelled it out and everyone stared at him. Some of “my boys” are reading this right now and saying, “There are 2 outs, 2 strikes, and 2 balls…Mrs. Price is somewhere saying it…Rally Rally on Two Two Two, Rally Rally on Two. Whoooo!”
Go ahead. Take off that hat, shake it and cheer. You know you want to.
#5. Everyone loses sometimes.
There are 162 games in an MLB baseball season, about 81 in a college season and around 45 in a high school season. And NO ONE goes undefeated and NO ONE goes winless. Winning streaks end, upsets happen and sometimes the best team doesn’t always win.
But baseball has taught me more than just winning or losing. I’ve learned how to accept a loss and how to be gracious in victory. I’ve learned that losing doesn’t make you a loser; it sometimes teaches you more about winning. I’ve learned that character is built every day and is shown in your everyday actions. I’ve learned stress can cause players to make mistakes but so can overconfidence. I’ve watched boys prepare to compete every day in practice and never step a foot on the field in a game. I’ve also learned that every time I put on my school colors, I represent myself, my family and school so I should do it with grace and dignity.
#4. After the 3rd Inning, we should all go get a snack.
Y’all, my kids learned very quickly this baseball must. After the home team bats in the 3rd, we all go get a snack. My nieces and nephews were trained at a young age how to read a scoreboard and when to ask Aunt Allyson for their dollar. Even my “greats” know that the concession stand is only 30 minutes from the first crack of the bat. It’s a baseball thing, right? If it’s not, I don’t want to know.
#3. Fighting for something is more effective than fighting against something.
Whether you are watching the Rangers, Cubs or my beloved McKinney Lions, you will continue to see one thing, TEAM. It is not always shear talent that gets teams to the biggest game of their lives. Successful teams fight for each other. They don’t want to lose. They stand by their teammates, cheer and pick each other up when they are down. They trust each other to do their part for the team. Great teams don’t care who their opponent is. In fact, their approach to the game never falters: Do whatever is asked of you, whenever asked, for the good of the team. And sometimes even the greatest group of teammates, won’t win and that’s just how baseball goes.
#2. Baseball is the Golden Game
Yes, I know. We live in Texas and Football is king. Heck, we have some of the biggest high school stadiums around where I live. But let’s face it, baseball is a game our daddies played. Our granddads cheered for their teams and my great-grandmother would make the winning apple pie and sit by her radio to hear the Yankees play. Baseball is the reason, we all know that you get three strikes and you are out. Baseball has taught us when life gets tough, you have to keep swinging. And mostly, baseball has taught us that when the day is over, win or lose, a day at the ballpark is better than any day at work.
#1. It’s never easy to say goodbye.
Tonight I watched 20 boys walk off the field for the last time. They will always be “my boys” and to them, I will always be Momma Price. They were a great team. They had fun together, lifted each other up and kept me on my toes. Some will play baseball in college, many of them will hang up their cleats and stick to playing catch in their backyard and a few will never take their gloves out of their bags again. Every year, I think, “This one will be easier.” But I really think they just get harder. I love these boys and I’m glad I could be a part of their life journey.
So to them I say, “Keeping swinging my sweet friends and I will be cheering for you every day! Go be AMAZING!”
Love Momma Price