Monday, April 21, 2008

Baseball Weekend

Our 11 year old Marlins team finally got to play a full weekend of baseball. The weather cooperated somewhat. We did sit in rain and cold for our final ball game, but other than that the weather was good. After our ballgame on Friday night, our team and all the families had a cookout together. We enjoyed getting to know one another better, and it is always fun to have a cookout.
Here is our "little man". This is the child that is always a willing helper on our farm so I post many farm pictures with him. The place on his chin is the left over poison ivy that he contracted from the fence chores.

I know for many families that sports isn't something worthy of time. However, we have found MANY wonderful things that have come from participating in sports. It does take up a lot of time, and sometimes I am torn with farm chores that are going undone. There are times that I would rather be here getting things done than at the ball field, but that usually only lasts until the first crack of the bat. With 3 boys participating in sports, we do spend an enormous amount of time at practices and games. Many of you are asking "why". Why would you do that? Here is your answer...

First of all, it is fun. Our children have had fun learning new things and meeting new people. It has been good character building for each of our children. Through sports, we have discovered each child's strong aspects as well as their weaker areas. This has given us as parents practical application for character growth. Sporting events is a family outing for our family. We enjoy cheering on the participating child and visiting with other families. Sports has given our home schooled children a safe outlet to learn how to deal with people who are different from them. When our children were young, we NEVER left them alone at a practice. We wanted to be there to watch the coaches and make sure that things were being dealt with in a good manner. It allowed us to enlarge their world a bit in a safe environment. More often than not, my husband offered to help the coach at practices. The coaches are usually very happy to have extra hands to help with the task.

When our third son was 5, he was the poster child for NOT homeschooling your kids. He had never really learned to interact with other people. Honestly he didn't like very many people outside of our immediate family. He didn't even do well with his grandparents. This was a shock for us because we had 2 older boys who were very personable. When we moved to Tennessee, we knew it was time to cut the apron strings for Jacob. Michael enrolled him in PeeWee baseball and volunteered to coach. We knew Jacob would NEVER stay without Michael being on the field. (He was the child that kicked a co-op home school teacher in the knee because he wanted to return to me in a different classroom)! At his first baseball game, he got embarrassed and left the field. I was mortified, and to top it all off I was the coach's wife!!! As he began to learn the rules of the game, we realized that he had God given ability. It was the first time that Jacob had excelled at anything in his life. It gave him confidence that nothing else had ever given him. He LOVED hearing his siblings cheer for him, and he kept working harder to get better. We finally found an outlet that we could use to teach this young child, and to say the least we were thrilled. As the years went by, Jacob has become our most loving and interactive child that we have. He loves being with other people, and he has confidence in himself to talk with anybody about anything. When Jacob was 9 years old, he played on a traveling ball team. We were playing in Knoxville and Jacob hit an over the fence home run. I was delighted. A few weeks later Jacob was again playing down in Knoxville. He was the catcher for the game. I was sitting on a bench behind the plate. I watched my son make some incredible baseball moves. I heard strangers comment on what an excellent catcher that number 15 was. As the game continued, I watched Jacob interact with the umpire. They were chatting in between plays and laughing. Jacob was very polite and helpful. I broke down and sobbed because other than my husband no one else knew what this child had overcome in his short sports career. He had gone from a child that didn't like people to a child that could make a friend out of an umpire during a ball game!

This year brings its own set of character issues. Jacob is once again playing on a traveling ball team. The team is great and the coach is outstanding. He knows baseball and knows kids. That is a great combination. Jacob is still an outstanding player that works very hard. However if he makes a mistake he is having a terrible time overcoming it. He is letting his emotions rule him instead of him ruling his emotions. We are using this to teach him Godly principles about life. It isn't easy. Sometimes it can be one of the most frustrating things known to parenthood, but we won't quit on him. It has nothing to do with baseball, but everything to do with character. If he can learn this lesson in a ball game, how much better of a husband and daddy he will be someday. That is why we spend so much time at the ball field.

grace and peace,

No comments: