If your son has even dipped his toe into travel baseball, you have likely heard of Cooperstown Dreams Park. For those who haven’t, it is a week in baseball heaven situated in the mountains of small-town New York for your son’s 12-year-old year. For many, it is the culmination of years of travel ball, as a lot of boys will begin to put all their energy into their high school baseball teams. This year, because of COVID19, Cooperstown has decided to cancel its 2020 season, and my heart goes out to so many mamas, boys, and families who were looking forward to this adventure.
Here’s the thing. If you are a travel ball mom, you have been planning, saving, fundraising, and dreaming of this for a while. We honestly had this trip on our radar between my oldest’s 8 and 9 year old teams. Our family was “lucky” enough to go to Cooperstown 2 years in a row. Our oldest started travel ball at 9/10 but was with his team since 7 in recreational baseball. We had our first trip in 2018. Our second son joined a travel team at 11, after playing rec ball and all-stars for years, and we were able to visit again in July of 2019. Each son had a different experience, but our family soaked up every second of baseball we could.
I can’t imagine having those experiences taken away. So, for a second…let me validate your disappointment. Perhaps you already bought a “Fat Head” of your dude so you could be that obnoxious mom in the stands. If you are from New Orleans, you may already have baseball Mardi Gras beads in your garage to throw at Opening Ceremony. You may have already ordered pins so your son could trade with the 103 other teams scheduled to attend your week. Grandparents may have planned on making the trip. You have probably been on Pinterest at least 100 times making sure you have all the right things packed for the barracks. Some of you may even have personalized sheets for their bunks because you are super extra…and I love you.
For some families, this is a trip of a lifetime. You may have planned your first visit to Niagara Falls. Maybe you even got passports so you could travel to Canada and see the view from another country. You may have planned your first trip to Yankees Stadium for an MLB experience like no other. You may have hoped to see your first Broadway play, or gone to Times Square. Maybe you planned to visit Boston after. As with so many other life events right now, our summer plans are being rescheduled, postponed, and canceled.
If any of those scenarios paints your picture…my heart goes out to you. Like so many of us, our summer plans are going to look a lot different than planned. Your disappointment is real. So, as your scheduled week comes and goes, I hope that your team has been able to fill that void with another amazing tournament adventure!
Most importantly, Mama, I want you to know that it’s okay to feel sad. We are all missing things from our regularly scheduled broadcast of life. If a baseball trip for your kid being canceled feels like a big deal, I am here to say…I understand, and…I’m sorry. Cooperstown is a big deal for travel ball kids. It’s also a big deal for their moms. There is no crying in baseball, but if you find yourself there…I totally understand.