Tuesday, September 22, 2015
WALK A MILE IN MY SON'S SHOES
My oldest son is a baseball player. He started in tee-ball and he's still doing it to this day. He's a product of a very badly run Little League program like most of our sons and daughters. Leagues where parents run it and play their own kid, never properly training anyone, manipulating their own tryouts and pretty much shatter kid's dreams. Here's the thing though, they don't even realize it. They just keep playing their own kids and make their own "super" teams until those kids eventually putter out and the underdogs develop into athletes. That's because the underdogs have to work harder. True, some leave, but the diehards... the ones that want it? They keep working no matter what. It's actually gratifying to watch. I've seen it in my own town. Kids that were "top" players aren't very good at all when they reach an older age. And when they reach the big field, they're pretty much exposed. Their parents become frustrated and annoyed... they yell and eventually, those same "top" kids vanish, and do lacrosse, because they couldn't hack it after all. You gotta wonder if those parents are living through their kids. That's a theory of many. I don't think that way. I just feel bad for those kids. They never worked for what they got... it was handed to them... and then, when it got hard later, they quit.
Through it all, there's one kid I felt most bad about. It was my son. He was never considered a top player. He was a fill in, sitting more than he should have and never given a thought. He never made the top team in our town when tryouts happened. Never. So, my son, who's a Leo and pretty much just like his old man did something incredibly brave. When he didn't make the the "Top" town team, he asked to try out for a club team outside of town. He made that club team... and immediately knew the town tryout was... well... bullshit.
For 2 years he developed and trained and worked his tail off. He even had a minor freak accident involving his bike and that set him back a good 6 to 8 months. But all the while, as hard as it got, he tried and worked and some days would complain like crazy. He wanted to quit some days. He wanted to "take time off" when it got hard. But he's a Leo, and so... he also didn't want to lose either. He continued to work.
This Spring, with alot of training under his belt, he asked to come back to town. I didn't want him to do it, but he wanted to. He had something to prove, so I let him. He crushed it all spring and then when tryouts happened, he made the summer team as well. This summer was the summer of his life. With confidence high, he hit exceptionally great as well as pitched. His hitting lead his team... not with home runs, with clutch hits; singles, doubles. He collected RBIs... runs scored and more. He beat a kid out of a spot and was given full playing time. Not because he was coddled and favored. He got it because he earned it. It was pretty incredible.
My son has always been the underdog in baseball. And to be honest, now that he's on top of the mountain it hasn't been much easier. Kids that are his so called friends snipe at him, but he has the confidence to snipe back. As I told him, "As long as you are confident in your shoes and your abilities, don't worry about it." It's hard to comprehend when you're a kid, and there are rough days of kids acting jealous or hateful... but he's trying.
My son had an assignment at school this week. I wanted to share it on BYB. It's mature and sophisticated and it made me proud. Do me a favor. After everything I've told you... add emotion to what you're about to read. If you feel the need to be a hater, I hope you have enough respect and decency to check it at the door right now...
Here it is:
"If you walked a mile in my shoes, you would never start on top. You would have to work and train day after day to be looked at as one of the best. You'd need to perform as much as you can. You would have to, because everyone thinks that yesterday doesn't count, but today does.
Every now and then, people would say that 'you couldn't do it.' I stood tall and ignored them. So here's a word of advice; If you walk a mile in my shoes, stay strong and never give up."
Grind kid... grind.
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at 5:10:00 AM