Monday, April 6, 2009

Embracing Baseball

I mentioned already that we are playing baseball for the first time this year. And we are in deep, as we have two boys old enough to swing a bat for a team. Someday in the future we will probably limit the number of kids that can play a sport at one time because you run yourself ragged getting to all the practices and games. And with our baseball league there are also mandatory volunteer opportunities (did I just say mandatory volunteer? Indeed.). And then there is fundraising and a tournament at the end of the season and the cost to play and the cost to outfit and gear-up both kids. And don't forget the help that the coaches really need to organize the volunteers, the fundraiser, and other things like that.

What am I getting at? This baseball thing is a significant committment in a variety of realms. As a parent that is completely GREEN when it comes to having kids in baseball, I was pretty stressed out when I discovered that Davis' team would be practicing three times a week. I was glad to know that Jackson's team is only practicing once a week. But he has games twice a week most weeks, and Davis has games sometimes as much as three times in a week. Plus practices. Yeah.

Resentment was building right from the start. I am pretty full already, you know? I mean, I have my safe little life and my wonderful routines. I have spaces in my day to be intentional with each of my kids. But I only have these spaces because I have organized my days and weeks in such a way... I don't exactly have five nights a week to devote to something as insignificant as baseball.

Today I saw in another mom's tone of voice and facial expressions what I had been feeling. Her complaints were pretty legit, if you ask me. She thought she signed up her child to play some ball but she didn't know she was signing up for a change in lifestyle for the next 10 weeks. She did not know that such a thing as mandatory volunteering existed. She did not know that there would be games three times a week and practices on top of that. I totally got it that she was disillusioned and deeply regretted letting her kid play ball.

The thing is, we did sign our kids up. And this is what is asked of all the parents. And regardless of whether or not we should have registered our boys for baseball, these are the circumstances we find ourselves in right now. Suddenly I saw so clearly that she and I both have choices to make.
1. Drop out of the league. Yeah, the $100 spent to play is lost, but at least you have your life back. Who wants to pay for misery?
2. Continue in the league, but make sure everyone knows just how ticked off you are about what a huge committment this has turned out to be. And write dozens of letters in your head to the Little League Board of Directors.
3. Embrace the circumstances. Better yet, use them to glorify the Lord.

I am thankful I saw myself so clearly in another mom's ugly behavior because I was inches from echoing her ticked-off sentiments. I realize now that my witness is at stake. And with that knowledge, my entire perspective has changed. I am finding myself excited for the next couple of months. I see that our lives are going to look very different for a while, and that means sacrificing some things that I don't want to sacrifice (but is that not the definition of sacrifice?!). But it is temporary. We can get back to our perfect lives soon enough. But for a while, it is going to get messy as we develop relationships with parents who don't know God's call on their lives. We are going to get our hands dirty as we permit our kids to work really hard all season long under someone else's authority. I have this mental image of our family really caring for the coaches (who are great, by the way) - serving them, praying for them, supporting them, assisting them, ministering to them.

In a blink of an eye, my mind has been renewed. Rather than fight against baseball all season long, I have embraced it. I see it as a ministry opportunity. I will use it in every way possible to glorify the Lord. I am so excited!

Play ball!


Wilson Family said...

Thanks for the reminder/perpective! I too am feeling the ughh... what have we gotten ourselves into with Tee-ball! I had no idea how much time would be devoted to it and I only have one boy playing! But you're right - we need to embrace the season, and use it to glorify the Lord.

Brenda said...

Hey Jenne, GREAT perspective! The sports thing is TOUGH, especially with multiple children. :) We did soccer in the fall and had Isaac and Kaleb on two separate teams, with different games & practices. Noah wasn't old enough yet, but I was beginning to dread next year's soccer! I was hoping that they'd hate it, honestly, and then we just wouldn't do it again!! That's horrible, huh?? They don't hate it though, so it looks like we'll be back at it. I signed up Isaac and Noah for t-ball (Kaleb said he wasn't interested) through the Canby league, and requested that they be on the same team, but there are no guarantees--and paid the $75 per kid. Then I heard about another league around here--it's the "homeschool league." I was a little hesitant at first because I love the idea of playing with other kids we don't know, getting to know people in the community & being a witness to them. A lot of the people we know from co-op were going to do the homeschool league. And I love those people--just--I wanted to be a witness. :) We decided to go for it though. Before the season started, we got a refund from the Canby League. Kaleb decided he wanted to play after all, so we signed up all three of the boys for $25 PER KID (not bad!!! $75 for 3 vs. $140 for 2!). They're all on the same time, and can always be, regardless of age or gender. There are practices 1 night a week, and games 1 night a week (always Friday nights). All of the teams have games & practices the same night, right in a row, so that if you have lots of kids in different age groups, you just plan to hang out at the field all of Monday night (for practice) and all of Friday night (for games). People bring dinner with them--one family, I guess, brought their trailer last year and sold pbj and ham sandwiches. :) I wanted to do the witness thing--but then again, we're right in the middle of a neighborhood where we can be doing that too. :) And the thing I've liked about this league is that the moms have been really friendly--when we did soccer, nobody talked to each other, it was so strange! Here, the moms are all chatting! And I've been able to meet people I've heard of (or was on their local events e-mail list) but had never met! :) Very cool. I like it. OK, I'm babbling! This is what is working for us this year. Your perspective is great!! :) OH! And I just thought of another thing! :) One disadvantage of a smaller league like this is that we went to our first practice and there was no coach for our team. So Karry is now one of 2 coaches, the only 2 dads who were there that night stepped up and decided to tag-team it. :) So I guess I need your perspective for THAT part of it! ;)

Pate Family said...

You have such a good attitude about it! Two in soccer in the fall about did me in. I treasure dinner time and it wiped that out for at least two nights a week, and ate up our Saturdays. But I guess that is just the path we will be going down with multiple kids in stuff. I think we are going to firmly stick to one thing per kid at a time, but will that even work when there are 4 (gulp!) in stuff? I'll try and take on your attitude- but I must admit that your post mainly made me happy that Andrew is pretty firm on tennis being our families spring sport. :) From what we have seen & heard, baseball is the sport that can take over. Although I suppose anything can if you let it, and nothing can if you don't. :)