Monday, May 28, 2012

Desires and Hopes of a Former Little League Parent

I've finished reading the article My Left Arm by former MLB pitcher Bob Ojeda from this past Saturday's New York Times. In the article, Ojeda tells of his experiences dealing with pain in his arm throughout all levels of his playing career from little league to the pros and how his relationship with his father helped and hurt his career. I highly recommend it to any coach and parent of a child who pitches in little league. Reading it got me to thinking about my own experience.

I also played little league. Being the son of Dominican immigrants, living Baseball is a given. Naturally being a pitcher is what I wanted to be. Who didn't want to be the next Juan Marichal. I practiced that high leg kick trying to emulate the Dominican Dandy. Alas, I was neither a dandy or a pitcher. LOL.

My dad supported me in taking me to practices and giving me the money to participate though he never saw me play. He was always busy working. I don't hold it against him, it was just the way it was. Fast forward to 2008 years to my being a dad and signing my son up for T-Ball.

I'll he honest here, I signed him up with the faint expectation that my lefty of a son would eventually become a professional ballplayer. Who doesn't want that. Anyone who has ever played the game and tells you otherwise is a liar. The difference between me and other parents who might have that wish and desire is that I never pushed my son into it. Sure I asked him if he wanted to and he did but I always told him that he needed to give 100% effort. If he couldn't do that then he shouldn't do it. I bought a bat, glove, hitting tee to get him ready. You know what happened? The boy found T-Ball downright boring. LOL. Can't say I blame him. We never played T-Ball. We just played ball growing up on the block and that just translated to knowing how to play the game. So instead of having a miserable kid on the field just going through half-assed motions, I gave him the option to stop playing which he did. The kid just has different interests.

My kids know daddy loves Baseball and love going to the games. My daughter loves going out to eat and see the sights. My son loves it as well. He gets upset when the Yankees lose and happy when they win but his baseball knowledge is limited to a few terms and a handful of players. It is what it is. Like I said before the boy just has other interests. Does that disappoint me? Perhaps a little. I have no one to blame but myself. I helped to cultivate the creative side of two individuals. Gave them free rein to do things differently than dad. To find their own interests and curiosities. As much as I wish my kids were knee deep in baseball as I am, I rather they be individuals instead of clones.

In the end they still enjoy going to the games with dad and that's all I can hope for.


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