When it comes to teaching your kids a lesson, sometimes it’s not the delivery but rather who delivers it that matters.
This weekend took us to Marshfield where Ben and the Dedham 11s played in the Cal Ripken State Tournament. I’ve said it before: we love this time of year because we find ourselves spending time with our “Baseball Family” more than ever, and this series is the highlight of it all.
The boys were down 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth when I realized that it was Ben who was walking up to the plate. With two outs, I had the dreaded Mom-with-a-pit-in-her-stomach moment as I realized that he was either going to get a hit and keep things alive or else end the game.
Never have I said 10 Novenas so quickly.
As the third strike whipped past him, my heart sank. He had made the last out, and for a kid who takes his role on the team very seriously, I knew exactly what he was thinking.
On the way home I did my best to remind him of how to get past adversity. As a salesperson, I pride myself in being able to present a pretty good case for the point that I’m trying to make but nothing seemed to get through to him.
At the opening ceremonies on Friday, former Red Sox player Lou Merloni welcomed the boys with an inspiring speech. One thing that he told them was “if you’re lucky to play this game for long enough, you will at some point be the guy to make the last out. Don’t beat yourself up; instead, dust yourself off and get ready for the next game.” Advice from a former Red Sox player? I was sure I had a winner.
He just wasn’t hearing it. Granted, the last time Lou Merloni played for the Sox, Ben was only two years old but I was hoping that wouldn’t matter. I was wrong.
I told him that it was behind him now and there was nothing he could do to change it. Every single game, there’s a kid in his position and it just happened to be his turn tonight. Most importantly, it’s never one person’s fault; you win as a team and lose as a team. That’s just part of the game.
When we came home, we bumped into a neighbor who is currently playing in the 14-year old Babe Ruth State Tournament. When Ben told him they had lost he said, “Yeah, we did too. And I made the last out.”
Seizing this golden opportunity, I asked him where his head was:
“Shame on me, I guess. But I gotta hold my head high and start thinking about the next game.”
Remind me to take THAT kid out for an ice cream.
I realized that you never know what it’s going to take to get through to a kid. After watching a Professional Baseball player and Seasoned Mother-of-Three strike out (pun intended) in getting through to Ben, it was a throwaway comment made with a “what are you gonna do?” shrug from a 14-year-old neighbor that made all the difference. I watched my son lift his chin up, get back onto the field the following night and couldn’t have been more proud.
I’m hoping that my powers of emotional healing still work on my younger two kids but if not, I know who to call … and it ain’t Lou Merloni.