Personal victories

Rally caps in dugout

“Who wants to help me write my talk?” I asked the boys.

We were sitting at Red Robin after the u9 Championship baseball game (with a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods squeezed in) talking about the rest of our weekend. There would be another baseball game the next day after church: it would be the beginning of the summer season for one of our teams.

“I will,” my youngest said. He had just picked put his own catcher’s gear for his birthday. His summer team started practice the following Tuesday.

“What should we talk about?”

“I don’t know.”

“What about personal victories?”

He looked at me and smiled a little. “Oh yeah.”

We had talked a lot about winning and losing and personal victories during the spring baseball season. We talked about why it’s not a good idea to say things like, “I stink,” “our team stinks,” and “we’re gonna lose.” One or more errors does not mean you or your team stinks. It means you made one or more errors. You can make the play the next time, or the next game.

“We’re gonna lose,” is a negative statement that might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why bother playing at all with that attitude? Though we do know some people who think the only point of playing is to win – including the entire opposing side of the championship match up judging by their very serious coaches holding team meetings on the mound and very vocal fans coaching from the sidelines – we have talked a lot about the fact that games are supposed to be fun.

But what if you are midway through a game with more than one mercy inning and you haven’t scored yet? Well, it might not feel that fun and maybe you will lose. But at that point, you’ve got to start focusing on the personal victories that we had talked about. For the catcher, it could mean no passed balls this inning. For the batter in a hitting slump, it could mean standing in that batter’s box with two outs and two strikes and continuing to hit foul balls until the pitcher is rattled, whether or not you get on base. Not letting the pitcher see you are nervous is a personal victory. Personal victories can make things fun.

“So?” I asked my son.

“Well, we could talk about one of my personal victories today – it was about how I scored a run and ruined the other team’s shut out.”

“Okay, good, what about somebody else?”

“Well, J got that double play…”

“Yeah, that was awesome! And?”

“Oh, yeah, H was the one that knocked me and N in – twice.”

Enough personal victories coupled with rally caps can earn a win, but only if there are enough innings left. That happened once this past season, when the kids earned an exciting come-from-behind win to defend their at-the-time perfect record. But there weren’t enough innings in the championship game. Even though our team didn’t win, no one walked off the field heads down, either.

We spent the next few minutes reliving parts of that days’ game. When the food came, we all held hands and my youngest volunteered to say the blessing. “Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, thank you for this food, and thank you that we made it to the championship game…”

Caroline B. Poser <><


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