To My Son Who Probably Won’t Make the Team

I’ve been a nervous wreck thinking about you today. When you walked out of the house slinging your bat bag over your shoulder this morning, I could hardly eat breakfast. I prayed for your mind to remember what you’ve learned and for your body to move comfortably and for your heart to be at peace. But I should know by now; I don’t need to worry about you.

Forty boys are trying out for baseball. Only fifteen can make the team. You, my boy, will likely not be amongst those fifteen. I know you know this. I know you’re not oblivious to those odds. You’re perceptive and can tell quickly who the studs are. You might have even recognized their talent long before try-outs. Still, you showed up.

You don’t know this, but this morning, I saw that text from your classmate that read, “Give it up, you don’t have a chance.” When I read it, my eyes stung with tears for you. Then, I got mad. I scrolled to read your reply. When you responded, “I have nothing to lose,” the tears really started flowing from my eyes. I am so damn proud of you for that attitude and response. Even at thirty-five years old, I’m not sure my response would have been as enlightened and mature.

I don’t care what happens with baseball try-outs. I always tell you that as long as you give it everything, and as long as you can learn something from an experience, I’ll never be upset with an outcome. You learned this before try-outs even started. You are so right. You have absolutely nothing to lose by showing up and playing hard. You may not get what you came for, but you can walk away with new knowledge. You’ll understand the expectations should you choose to try out next year. There are only opportunities to gain.

Some kids are just bigger, faster, stronger. You are young and have the worst possible baseball birthday. You can’t control that. But, as you’re learning, you can overcome these things which you cannot change. You know that you might never be that huge home run hitter, but you’ve learned how to strengthen your swing to at least get a base hit. You can see that you’re not strong enough yet to pitch fast, so you’ve had to work on your accuracy and throw strikes however slowly they may cross the plate. You get it.

In some circles, you’re one of the best; a big fish in a small pond, if you will. You’re a good ball player, and you love all of the thinking and strategy that baseball involves. If that’s the best you are, then your best is enough. Of course, you already know this. You know it’s not personal. You know the odds do not favor you right now. Even so, you recognized that you had nothing to lose. Still, I know it wasn’t easy for you to put yourself out there. And whatever the outcome, I couldn’t be prouder than I am right now.


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