Monday, May 18, 2009

The Thrill of Victory / The Agony of Defeat

I'm still alive. I haven't fallen off the edge of the Earth into the fiery pits with dragons and all. I've just been busy. Last week was a complete and utter blurrrrrrrrr. It was the little one's last week at preschool and her musical program. And lots and lots of baseball practice leading up to our big baseball weekend in Mississippi. My house is disgustingly dirty, there are many loads of laundry to do, and yet I sit here at the keyboard.

We headed out toward Mississippi on Friday around 1:00 pm. I did something I had never done before - I checked my son out of school for no reason at all other than to go play baseball. This is just something I never dreamed I would do, and had it not been the end of the school year, we probably would have waited until after the bell rang that afternoon to leave. We had two games scheduled on Saturday morning, so we wanted to go ahead and get there and settle ourselves in for a winning weekend.

Saturday was amazing. Our boys were on fire. Their bats were hot, and they could do no wrong on the field. The first game was a total annihilation - final score 20 -1. The second game was a little more of a battle - we only beat them 8 -0. But our team had a total of seven out of the park home runs. We were the talk of the park - the fans from other teams, all the coaches, and even the umpires were all abuzz about the Bandits. It was just a truly magical day. But we must have sprinkled all our magic dust out the car window behind us as we drove away, because the next morning, when we arrived back at the park, all the magic was gone.

Our boys could not field a ball. They couldn't catch much in the air, and what they did manage to catch popped right back out. Between base running and fielding combined, there were around twenty errors on the field in those six innings. And we lost - we lost 12-10, but it felt much worse than that. Much, much worse. And so we tucked our tails in between our legs and got in the car for the four hour ride home.

The thrill and the agony. Such is life. When you're on top, it's easy sailing. When everything clicks - when it's all magic and fun. But when you start making mistakes and the odds pile up against you, that's when things get tough. And they got tough for our little team yesterday. It was a real tough game. No one in particular to blame. Everyone made mistakes - big mistakes. But they battled and rallied right through them all. Unfortunately, they didn't win. But you don't always get the win.

No - you don't always get the win. But you don't always get to see a seven year old boy hit his first baseball over the fence. You don't always get to see another mama's tears of pride when it's her son that hits it out. You don't always get to hear twelve boys rallying around one another and chanting and cheering in their sweet little voices when they are up and when they are down.

I won't always get to experience all of this. It makes the agony all worth it somehow. The joy of this weekend far outweighed the pain.

And so we'll hit the practice field tomorrow. I am sure the boys are even more disappointed in the loss as the parents. And they will work harder and harder for that next win. For the next chance to feel the magic and thrill of victory.

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