Our seven-year old started his baseball season Thursday. We just finished a season of soccer practices (3 per week), games (two every Saturday), parties, etc., for both him and his five-year old sister. It was stressful. I was not sure if I was ready to sign up for another sport that would require multiple practices and games each week (especially since we are stressed with finding a place to live and packing the house for when we move for residency in two months). My husband insisted that it is now time for him to play baseball. In fact, he was worried that we had waited too long.
A little history. My husband's grandfather played professional baseball. All of his descendants play baseball (high school teams and beyond, etc). Even the girls, they play softball. While introducing him to our children when they were newly born, he wouldn't say a word; he would carefully pick up up both of their chubby little wrists to test their strength, and, after a little bit, he would say with each, "Good wrists... good wrists."
I laughed about it then, but not any more. My husband's reaction to our son beginning to play baseball has been very interesting, and actually a bit entertaining. He took our son to buy all of the "stuff" two weeks ago. We hardly have an extra penny to spend on any-thing, but my husband felt comfortable spending quite a bit for the following "necessary" items: a nice mitt, a nice bat, baseball pants (2 pairs), batting gloves (2 pairs), a nice helmet, a few baseballs, and a super sweet baseball bag to keep everything in. My husband raced from work to make it to his first team practice on Thursday and called ahead to let me know he was coming. Then he asked, "How does he look compared to the other players?" I told him that I wasn't really sure, but that he looked like he was having fun. He then said, "You have to pay attention to these things."
My husband has been practicing with our son two or three times per week. He's practically given up his cycling this month, (which is completely unheard of - even during the days just following the birth of each of our children), just to get him ready for the season. My husband's involvement and determination that our son be good at baseball and enjoy playing has allowed me to see a new side to him. I love it. Despite the long hours and his exhaustion, my husband is making time to develop a stronger relationship with our son through baseball. One day while they were playing catch, our son asked my husband, "Dad, did baseball make you happier than anything else in the world?" My husband's response was, "No, having you and your sister and brothers has made me happier than anything else." Our son smiled, but, not satisfied, he asked, "But, did baseball make you happy?" "Yes," my husband said.
What my husband didn't share with him, that he told me later, was that his fondest memories of his childhood were either on the field playing baseball or playing catch with his dad. Darnit. I thought I had the monopoly on the fun memories of my kids' childhood (since physician training kinda takes dad away. a. lot.). So, today, after many requests from our son, I finally agreed to go out and play catch with him. It was embarrassing, to say the least. Unfortunately, I contribute hugely to the support behind the erroneous popular insult: You throw like a girl. (This is frustrating because my dad and my grandfather also played baseball - but I guess my phenotype is a bit off.) My son started to give me pointers. I wanted to give up but he kept encouraging me.
(Notice, he is the only member of his team dressed in baseball pants and cleats at practice on Saturday.)
So, baseball entered our lives only three weeks ago and already the interactions between family members have been largely changed. I have never liked the sport, particularly because I cannot throw well, or, actually, not at all, but mostly because it is so technical and it is so easy to make a mistake. I feel so bad for little kids when they make mistakes! Soccer is easy - you just have to run fast and you look great! Baseball is growing on me though. I guess since it's in my husband's genes, (and mine, but masked), I have to join in the fun. Plus, more than likely, I will be the one practicing with our son due to the crazy schedule of physician residents. But, I have to admit that I recognize and accept the fact that our son's memories will not include me, but rather my husband playing catch with him and cheering him on during the few games that he will hopefully be able to attend. I am glad, though, that they will be able to bond through baseball and create lots of fun memories together. Meanwhile, I'll work on my arm.