Parenthood is full of wacky surprises, isn’t it? I never imagined congratulating my children on their success in the bathroom or that I’d happily, excitedly memorize every Kidz Bop album or, most surprisingly, that I’d fall in love with baseball.
Like all of you, I do my best to guide my children towards experiences and ideas that I value. Yet sometimes it’s the other way around and my children grab the wheel, slam on the brakes and assert their passion. As it should be. In our lives, this came in the form of baseball. What started as a jaunty pit stop into the world of t-ball and snack schedules has quickly turned into a lifestyle. Within a week of moving into our new house, we have a dentist, a doctor, an orthodontist, food in the refrigerator, and a baseball team. So, yeah. Baseball is one of our top priorities.
One summer during college, I lived above a brewery literally across the street from Fenway Park in Boston. We had spectacular views into the historic ball park. This was completely lost on me. Instead, the stadium lights and noise were a nuisance more than anything. I like to tell my boys this now because it reminds me (and maybe shows them) that baseball came to me because of them. They gave me baseball and for that I am grateful.
This compilation of baseball themed images is a tribute to the passions that our children find and the lessons we, as parents, are fortunate to learn as we support them. Here are a handful of the lessons I have learned because my children play baseball.
Baseball is good for my marriage. I can fall in love with my husband all over again as I watch him advise, coach, throw, catch, console, encourage, demonstrate, discipline, explain, sweat, and play with our children for hours.
Kids can fend for themselves. Sometimes I rush in with help too early because I think it will take less time or because it’s more convenient for me to do it myself. In baseball, I have to stay off the field and out of the dugout and let them do it without me. At least they always have their tongues to keep them company.
I make a lot of noise on the sidelines. Who knew? I hardly understand the game but I can work myself into quite a dither over it all. This is likely to horrify my kids here shortly but for now I’m free to act like a loon until they banish me altogether.
Anything at all can happen during a game. There may be time for some art in the outfield. You might strike out. You might lose your cool. Your teammates might give you the perfect pep talk. You might play a position that you’ve never played before. You might laugh or cry or both. For sure, a variety of things will happen. The simplest and most beautiful thing that happens every game is that the players, the coaches, the umpires, and the fans show up to see exactly what will happen this unique time.
Sportsmanship is a virtue. Watching kids humbly win, humbly lose, and humbly cheer has brought me to tears. Watching these same kids show respect to their coaches, the referees, their teammates and their opponents renews my faith in humanity every time.
Being on a team is like being alive. Life is full of neighborhoods, classrooms, workplaces and assorted groups of people like our very own nuclear families. It’s never too early to learn our own strengths in a group and how to put them to use for the group. To that end, in my family team, I am good at representing all the food groups in our meals, documenting our lives, and reminding everyone to brush their teeth. Recognizing these strengths is only a fraction of the useful information I’ve gleaned from our baseball lives.
What a crazy gift it is to see life anew through the passions of our children. Thank you to all of the wonderful photographers who shared these images of what baseball in their lives looks like. I’m proud to be in your company.