The Baseball Shuffle took my by surprise. Little did I know that this little trip would change my outlook completely. As a mom of active boys, sports is an essential part of life. But each child is unique in their interests and hobbies. My oldest, Gabriel has always loved baseball since little league. The sport has become a bigger part of our lives over the past few years. This year things shifted even more as he ventured to a new school with hope of joining the school baseball team. I could see the smile in his face and the glow in his eyes when he made it onto the Belen baseball team. I watched the games but I never really understood the game very well nor did it truly grasp my attention. The games were long and a little boring to be honest.
This past week in Cooperstown the universe shifted and boom I was hooked on baseball. I’m not sure if it was finally getting to Cooperstown for the tournament or seeing him play. Gabriel had been dreaming of this for almost a year. Or maybe it was visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame. The movie about the History of Baseball definitely made me cry. And I wasn’t the only teary eyed person in the room. I say person because it was emotional for men too. Baseball is America’s favorite pastime. It united America and brought a sense of hope to the masses. It was amazing the see the smiles and sense of awe in all the boys eyes as they walked through the museum. I was awestruck by Babe Ruth’s memorabilia and other baseball icons. And remember, I really didn’t show much interest in baseball until this trip. It doesn’t really matter how my mind shifted but it did.
Gabriel, Frankie and Christian were finally at Cooperstown. The smiles on their faces were priceless. I could see Gabriel’s dreams were at his fingertips. He was living his 12 year old dream. Something he had hoped and wished for but wasn’t sure it would manifest. Things worked out in the end and he joined his old baseball team Hardball to participate in the tournament. And he even invited a few friends from Belen too. They were all so excited to spend a week hanging with their friends and playing baseball. We were all ecstatic to watch them play. It was amazing to see how ALL the boys had improved over the past year. But the 3 peas brought a unique smile to our faces and glow in our hearts. Gabriel, Frankie and Christian had developed a unique bond over the past year. And they were ready to play BALL.
It was a rainy week in Cooperstown Allstar Village. And games were cancelled so we headed to the Hall of Fame. I couldn’t help but smile when I looked at my son’s face hanging out with his team or playing baseball. All the parents were anxious when their kid was up to bat or catch the baseball. I had never really been paying such close attention to a game but his week was intense. I had seen my son work so hard over this past year. Playing baseball 4 to 5 times a week. Taking hitting and pitching lessons. Countless hours of working his butt off and playing for a team that consistently lost. It must have been the most frustrating thing for him and the other peas in the pod (Frankie and Christian). It was frustrating for all of us to watch. Maybe that was part of the detachment I had. Or maybe it was that the games dragged on until eternity. But either way all of us were frustrated and this tournament began to shift it all. My son had a goal and it was Cooperstown. He has more goals like playing on the 7th grade team at his Belen. And Cooperstown is like the Holy grail of baseball for an 11 or 12 year old baseball loving boy. If your child plays baseball or you love the sport then you completely understand. My son and husband love the sport. My little one (Lucas) has other sports dreams; baseball wasn’t his cup of tea. We knew that this week was our one and only chance at participating in Cooperstown. Gabriel is almost 13 and this was his last shot.
I’m not sure why Baseball hadn’t caught my attention until Cooperstown. For some reason until this very surreal moment in time I hadn’t loved baseball. I wonder? Does my father love baseball? Of course he does, he talks about it all the time with Gabriel and Robert. But I can’t remember, Did he watch baseball? Did we watch it together? Was it a guy only tradition or were girls there too? I wish I knew. I guess I need to ask him. I’ll figure it out soon. But let’s get back to Cooperstown. Our entire family and small circle of friends were all looking forward to this tournament since early this year. The boys have been practicing like crazy to get to this tournament. They were a trio of buddies excited to visit Cooperstown together. They were like 3 peas in a pod. We hung out together every chance we got and this little adventure would bring us all closer together than ever before. Little did I know that Baseball was going to be my new favorite sport. The pressure was on for all of us. The kids and the parents felt the pressure. Each game was nerve racking and each parent had their own way of dealing with the stress. We also all had our own funny superstitious tricks up our sleeves. Some parents wouldn’t look at their kid when they were up to bat. To nervous to see it all unfold. But I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. Gabriel had worked so hard this year. He had made MVP on his school team, which he brushed off as no big deal but it is a huge deal. He had improved his pitching, catching and hitting so much since last year. For some reason he was nervous in Cooperstown and he wasn’t using his own bat. It was frustrating but you can’t push a pre-teen boy. You just have to let them try it out and come up with the decision on their own. Oh boy did I want to tell him something but he was frustrated enough on his own. I get it because I used to be the same way, I didn’t believe in myself and had to work through it on my own. So we patiently waited watching him play game after game with his frustration increasing.
Then one day, Wednesday June 19th everything shifted for him. I was so nervous that I couldn’t sit. I was literally pacing back and forth as I watched the game unfold. He finally grabbed his own bat and I jumped and screamed like a school girl. He hit his first home run in Field #33. It didn’t stop there. He went on to have a Grand Slam in field #33. I jumped and screamed again. All the parents were so excited. They had been waiting for Gabriel to hit it out of the park. He was selected by his coach for the Home Run derby in the beginning of the tournament (Sunday) but for some reason he didn’t use his bat until Wednesday. I’m not sure what shifted but we all had our superstitions and little tricks. Before that game I prayed and sent him some blessings. I even blessed his gatorade before I handed it to him. I was wearing all Blue (Baseball shirt, yoga pants, undies and all). Even the face of my watch mysteriously changed to blue on its own. My shirt said, “There’s no crying in Baseball.” We honestly don’t know what shifted on that Wednesday but I do know that Wednesday’s have been a big transition day for me over the past few months. So, it could have been Wednesday, the clothes, the blessings or any other variable. The fact is that it was the most exhilarating experience to see MY son hit a baseball out of the park. To hear that ball hit the bat perfectly and zoom out of the park was amazing. I had jumped and screamed for Christian too but this was my boy and I screamed like crazy. He had finally fulfilled his dream and hit a home run in Cooperstown. He ended up hitting 3 home runs that day. We couldn’t be any prouder of him. He was so happy and the boys were all jumping up too. He did it. He finally fulfilled his dream and were were all ecstatic. Let’s just say Baseball has a new place in my heart. I never though the game could excite me so much, that I would scream at the top of my lungs and jump like a kid but I did. Cooperstown was an amazing experience for all of us. It was exhausting, stressful and exhilarating all at once. We enjoyed the bonding experience to the fullest and I’m thankful that Gabriel achieved his dream.
P.S. One funny thing that happened in Cooperstown that any mommy can understand. LMAO. Embarrassing but true. When Christian got his first home run, I peed a little. LMAO. I screamed and jumped so much that a little pee came out. It happens to all of us at one point or another. I haven’t experienced that in a long time. I workout my pelvic floor often but I had been holding it in too long and oopsie happened.