My nephew however is a talented player. He plays on a traveling rep team in the states. He’s a pitcher. And a bit of a belly itcher. But that’s only because of the mosquito bites. 🙂
Zach’s team finished the season on top. They take their sport seriously and practise hard. What’s as impressive as their dedication is the coaches’ commitment to teamwork and good sportsmanship.
For extra practise and for the love of the sport, my brother Mike built a baseball diamond in their yard. (Yes, there were lots of “if they build it, they will come” jokes.) They hosted a party for the team while we were there visiting. The coaches wrote something inspirational about each player to share while they presented them with a ball signed by every player. I was touched by their passion for this sport. Well, not enough to actually play in the parent/kid game they had that night, but certainly enough to watch.
The day of the big game, my nephew took his little cousin out to the diamond to teach her how to hit a ball. She listened enthusiastically to his instructions and he offered patient, kind encouragement. It was a joy to watch.
After the awards were handed out and the last hot dog was eaten, it was time for the game. I had no idea Avery would be given a chance to play. It wasn’t planned. In fact, I went inside to grab something and was only drawn back outside by the sound of cheering and voices chanting, “Go Avery, go Avery!”
She hit the ball and was running around the bases, laughing, blonde hair flying out behind her. The infielder could have easily gotten her out, but instead he over-threw first base, allowing Avery to run to second. The first baseman threw the ball wildly into the air so Avery could continue around the bases. Each player dropped, missed or over-threw the ball so Avery could get her first home run.
Like I said, it wasn’t planned. The coaches didn’t tell these twelve-year-olds to do this. They just did. Instinctively they knew how much this moment would mean to a special little girl.
I wish I had captured it on video, but spontaneous moments are elusive like that. I did snap this grainy picture though while clapping and screaming.
Kudos to you Bucs coaches—not only do your players play with heart, they follow their hearts.
P.S. Baseball hats are great for covering up a bad hair day or shading your eyes from the sun. They’re also perfect for pulling down over your face when a home run makes you cry.