Gloves – check; hand warmers – check; swim suit – check; sun screen – check; rain coat and umbrella – check; baseball “mom” t-shirt – check; team spirit wear – check; sweatshirt – check; sweats for under wind pants – check; Gatorade – check; travel snacks (something sweet, something salty) – check; stadium seats – check; cooler – check. Is the hotel one we get points at? It must be baseball season. We travel and we prepare for whatever season decides to show up. We could have a little bit of spring and a little bit of winter. Images of the parent/fans in the bleachers could easily be mistaken for football season with scarves, gloves and blankets. Late in the season the image is more like survivors in the desert. It must be baseball season.
The parents spend the first few games trying to remember each other’s name, memorizing the names and numbers of the players they don’t know and always encouraging all the players on and off the field. Sometimes it’s the encouraging words of another player’s parent the really helps lift spirits.
The coach does his best to get the team ready for the season inaugural tournament. He reminds everyone that none of the teams will have had a lot of field time practice. “Let’s have fun and learn something. We can have more fun if we get some hits. So, go be aggressive at the plate.”
While outsiders think we are crazy, those of us on the inside know that baseball season with our middle schooler’s travel team is all about the memories being made. There will be button-busting victories and there will be dirt-kicking defeats. One will be celebrated with food and fun at the hotel indoor pool and the other will be quickly forgotten with food and fun at the hotel indoor pool.
Traveling home is usually quiet. Everyone is tired in the best way. At home laundry is separated. The white baseball pants are the key player in a laundry chemistry project including pre-treatment spray and Fels Naptha. After a 30 minute soak, the uniform is the first to get washed. The result will be somewhere between “like-new clean” and “ready to hit the field.”
Yes, in a few days we will be back on the field ready to take on the next team and the new challenge. Batter up!
All the best,