Monday, May 19, 2014

The Joy of Losing


It's baseball season again.  Because I have more enthusiasm than self-preservation, I signed Big Pants up for travel baseball. Because, yay, baseball!  The kid loves it, and Big Pants had outgrown the regular rec league coach pitch team. I have to admit my Mama ego was stroked that he made try-outs. 

What I forgot was that travel baseball means three hours of baseball, three or four days a week.  That's nine hours minimum of wrangling a little brother who is not playing baseball.  I also forgot I hate team sports.

So far it's been okay, actually, other than trying to curb my whining to the other mothers on the team, most of whom seem to think watching three hours of baseball is a great time.  When I whine, I can see them thinking get a life.  Sigh.  I'm a lousy sports mom. 

What's cool about this year's team, other than the adorable outfits, um, uniforms, is that they actually keep score, and stats and online spray graphs and cool stuff like that.  And so far, we have lost every game. Not lost by a few points, but lost by at least a good ten point spread.  I'm actually happy about that, too.

You see, my kids are growing up in a culture of everyone's a winner, which sounds good, right?  Except my kids are also smart enough to know that when everyone wins, it doesn't mean much.

SETTING:  a T-Ball game last summer.  Tiny Pants hits the ball and walks to first.

MAMA:  Tiny Pants, do you like T-ball?  You can quit if you don't like it. 
(thinking, Oh, please quit, please quit, because I am a bad sports mom) 
TINY PANTS:  I like T-ball.
MAMA:  Then why don't you run the bases? 
TINY PANTS:  It's hot, and it's not like they are going to get me out. They aren't allowed to.

SETTING:  In the car after an awards assembly:

MAMA:  Did you get an award?
TINY PANTS:  I got a science award.
BIG PANTS: I got the same award as Rian.
MAMA: Wow, you guys must both be great at science!
(Planning Mad Sibling Science Lab and eventual world domination)
BIG PANTS:  No, everyone gets an award. they have to give you one, so they just pick something you are good at.

Can you hear the pride in his voice over his science award?  No?  I couldn't either. 

Kids keep score on everything.  They know who is the best at math in their class, who is the top speller, and who is great at recess football.  For the first time, other people are keeping score, and Big Pants loves it.

He may not love losing, but at this point he's more concerned with his own stats, because stats are cool, and he's happy with his performance so far. 

The coach insists that the team cheers loudly for each other and reassure each other if they strike out.  The team seems to be made up of really nice, supportive kids. 

Big Pants is less concerned with the fact that his team lost than by the reason they lost.  He spends hours pouring over the website looking at the stats for fielding as well as hitting.  He designs line-ups in his head, but mostly he's concerned with his own performance and how he can best help the team. 

He has not yet decided that some players should not play, or blamed anyone for a loss.  He still believes that you play with the team you have, and looks for everyone's strengths.  Maybe thats from watching The Little Giants  and The Mighty Ducks  over and over, or maybe it's because he's never been around kids that groan when a bad player comes up to the plate. 

(Note: I was the player that they groaned about and shouted, easy out.)

Big Pants is learning for the first time, what it is not to win at everything.  So far, he's taking it like a champion. I'm learning to stop bitching about 12 hours of baseball a week.  Well, maybe that's too much to expect.  Perhaps I can attempt to bitch quieter, and only when it rains.


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