The Bad News Bears, and Life Lessons from the Bleachers

My son is ten. He plays baseball. He's a great kid: smart, funny, empathetic, and even, dare I say, a bit of a ladies' man already. I am a natural "team mom" type: big on coming up with cheers, bribing my kid with cheeseburgers, making sure the little siblings aren't rolling in poison ivy. I've spent the last six spring seasons on the baseball field, and loving it.

Until my son ends up on the Bad News Bears-type team. All the stereotypes are covered. The yeller. The one who dances in the outfield. The frustrated natural athlete. The coaches who drew the short straws this season. The not-quite-comfortable-in-their growing-body kids. The nerd. The bookish ones.

But mostly there are tears, parents cajoling, yelling at the teen ump, and a dozen parents with arms slung over their growing kids' shoulders, baseball bag in hand, explaining at the end of each game that there's clear progress... better luck next time. The bleachers are filled with parents praying for just one hit... a walk... heck, even rain.

Life deals us a bad hand sometimes, doesn't it?

What I'm learning is that baseball imitates life. Life sucks sometimes. You end up working with the tattletale. The back-stabber. The playboy. The slacker. Your raise depends on the person who can't order lunch, forget about negotiate a deal.

Sometimes the pitches we are facing are wild... but sometimes they are not.

I'm learning to take each pitch as it comes... with grace and humor. Hey, the batter will knock it out of the park one of these games, and it will be the sweetest moment ever.

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