Cole plays flag football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring. His flag football and basketball teams have been undefeated and won championships this year. Those seasons are so fun, but not a lot of growth can take place when its all easy and you win every game.
This isn't the case with baseball. There is a lot of learning going on. Cole's on a good team with a great coach, but they don't win every game. And sometimes the team will win, but Cole won't be happy with his own performance. If you know Cole, you know he is very hard on himself. Tom told him, after a disappointing game, that baseball is 75% no action or disappointment----25%reward. You just have to get over your errors, so you can be there for the team.
A few years ago, Cole had a rough first year in majors. He was the youngest and smallest on the team and I wanted to protect him from the disappointments that came with his mistakes. Tom and I were in knots every time he got up to bat. When the next year rolled around, I assumed baseball wasn't our sport. Tom talked Cole into giving it another shot. He wanted him to know the game of baseball and to learn from the game. Now we are in our final season of majors. We enjoy the rewards and work through the disappointments.
Last night, Cole came in to relieve the pitcher in a tough situation, with no outs and a runner on base. Tom and I looked at eachother, oh no. After he walked 2 batters, I watched him battle the nerves, with big deep breaths and the shake of his head. And then a thought popped into my head....these are the exact situations I want him to face. As hard as these are to watch, I want him to do hard. It will help him handle bigger and harder situations down the line. Even though he was alone on the mound, he still had his team, coaches, and parents giving him encouragement. Isn't that how life is?
He got out of the inning by striking out 2 big hitters. He held their lead and they won 9-4. Wheew! Tom, Cole and I were all relieved.
There are going to be many more of these "growing" experiences for all of us.