Tag Archives: little league

Three Strikes You’re Out

umpire quote

Drew decided not to play baseball this year. He was going to be playing in a group of kids that are up to two years older than him and at this age, there is a huge size difference between 13 and 15 year olds!  Drew is already on the smaller size for a 13 year old. We supported him completely but I have to admit, I was a bit sad to miss out on baseball this season.  That is until he took it upon himself to take the town’s umpire course and become an umpire for the Spring Season.

He umped his first game on Saturday and asked us if we’d come to see it so Dave, DJ and I went to watch the game. His age group of umpires gets to call the games for the youngest group of kids, second and third graders. He told us that he was a little bit nervous and that he thought about it the whole night before but by the second inning, he seemed like a pro already. His voice got stronger, he seemed more sure of himself and the game went smoothly.

Fortunately, there were great parent coaches on both teams – I think that’s what worried him the most. Umpires are taught how to handle difficult parents, and that they are allowed to send them off the field if warranted.  Glad we didn’t have to see that happen though.

So, my season without baseball didn’t happen.  I am sure I won’t be going to all of the games, and for  those I do go to, I won’t be cheering on a particular team, but now I can go and still support him and enjoy those Spring baseball days that I grew to love.

drew umpire

Passion or Poor Sport?

good sport

I was hoping that I could add an addendum to yesterday’s blog and say that I was wrong and the boys won their game…it almost happened.  They had a great game, pulling ahead after a seven run deficit, but in the end, they could not pull out the win.

The boys, who ranged in grades from fifth graders to seventh graders all dealt with the loss differently.  A few of them, along with my own son Drew, got angry and expressed themselves by slamming their helmets on the ground and storming out of the dugout.  Drew has never been known to be the best sport.  It is something we are working on with him.   Some of the boys were brought to tears.  I am not sure if it was the excitement of the game and being so close to a win or the ending of the season that did it.  It was heartbreaking to see them in tears.  There were a few who it didn’t seem to phase at all.

I don’t know what is the best or worst way to deal with it.  While I don’t like that Drew can be a poor sport, his passion for winning is so evident.  He is very hard on himself and blames himself and puts himself down if he has a bad game.  He is his own worst enemy.  Instead of focusing on what he did well in the game, he perseverates on the mistakes he made instead. He just can’t let it go.  Sadly, I think he gets that from me.

The good thing is that he doesn’t take it out or blame his teammates.  In fact, he is the loudest one out on the field cheering on and directing his teammates.  I always say that where he lacks in size, he makes up for in his loud, exuberant voice!  You can’t miss it.  Hopefully someday, he will be able to take that passion he has out on the field and be less and less frustrated with himself as he gets older. We will help him work on this because as parents, it is our job to instill and build up positive traits in our kids. If we can do that, we are helping him to become not only a better good sport, but a good person overall.


Last Game…maybe

babe ruth

I haven’t written a lot about baseball this summer.  It hasn’t been a very successful season for the boys.  Their team has only won two games.  It has been frustrating for the boys and despite how hard they seem to be trying, they just could not make it work out for them.

Tonight could be their last game.  If they lose, the season is over.  Although I am sure it is hard for the boys to realize, there are different ways to calculate success.  For some of these boys, it was their first time on “the big field” which made a big difference.  For others, trying out new positions that they’d never played before was a challenge.  Just working on becoming a cohesive team was difficult at times.  Dave assisted as one of the coaches.  He’s never coached baseball before and it was definitely a learning experience for him as well!

At twelve years old it is hard to see the logic behind a losing season but the last few games showed improvement.  Less errors, more hits, better fielding…they started pulling it together.  If only they had a few more games left.  The coaches don’t measure success only by having a winning season.  For them, it is keeping the boys interested and excited about playing ball and getting them excited to come back to play again next season.


sometimes you win sometimes you learn

It is so hard to lose!  Especially when you are twelve!  Drew’s summer ball team had a rough game tonight.  That other team could hit!!!

Drew has never been a good loser.  NEVER.  Unfortunately, that means the rest of us suffer along with him.  I wonder where he gets it from…

Okay, I will admit it, I am not a good loser either, but I don’t usually let him see that.  I am very passionate about my sport teams!  Maybe a little too passionate.  At professional games, I can let it out and scream and shout, but on the side lines of a kids sporting even, I need to remember to bite my tongue – especially when I realize I have taught a lot of these children!  Fortunately, I do keep it to myself.  There are actually rules and guidelines for parents to follow and this is a good thing!  Now that DJ is an umpire in our town, I cringe when I see parents criticizing an umpire or referee or blame them for a bad call, knowing that DJ could be on the other side of that argument.

Fortunately the teams that Drew has been a part of have always had parents who are good role models.  If parents are supportive and positive it will spill over to all the kids, on both sides of the field.  Seeing the coaches communicating positively and exhibiting good sportsmanship will be passed onto the kids as well.

After all, in the end, win or lose, the goal is that they had fun and learned from the game….even though winning does feel so good!



“America’s Game”


It is the last week of summer vacation, at least for me.  The kids don’t go back to school until September 9th.  I return next Tuesday.  I will be in and out of school this week trying to get my classroom ready for a new batch of Kindergarteners.  I look forward to this time of year every year, although I find the first two months of Kindergarten the hardest two months of the entire year.  I am never as exhausted as I am in September!

Our last week of Summer will be filled with a lot of baseball.  Drew will be performing his bat boy duties for the last few games of The Newark Bears Season.  There is a game every day or night this week!  He cannot get to all of these games though because he has his own practices to attend for Fall Ball.  We put out an “all-call” on Facebook to all of our friends and family to join us for a game if they are around.  Tonight, my sister and her family are going and my dad will join us as well.    I know that Drew self-esteem is boosted when others show up to see him hard at work!

He has such dreams of seeing himself out on the field as a player some day.  We have been watching The Little League World Series all week.  Drew is astonished at what some of these boys are capable of doing.  His mood swings from awe, disbelief and wonder, to him being completely down on himself because he feels inadequate and not good enough.  But despite how he feels about himself as he watches, he critiques, evaluates and gives his own commentaries throughout each game.  He is glued to the television and does his own “research” on line to see what he can find out about the players, teams and their equipment.  Now, if only I get him to be so enthusiastic about school…

Season Ends, Summer Begins!

never let the fear strike

Drew’s little league team made it to the playoffs and won their first game on Monday so the boys came in to tonight’s game with high spirits, but sadly those spirits dwindled as they were quickly down by three runs at the end of the first inning.  The game continued to go down hill and the boys lost, ending their great season.   Drew’s lucky bat did not give him as much luck as he had hoped it would, but he learned so much this season and we saw improvement on the field with each game that he played.  He had amazing and supportive coaches who gave the boys the preparation and guidance that they all needed to become such a cohesive and cooperative team.

Drew had blast playing on this Cougar team.  With so many afternoons and evenings spent on the ball field, he made some new friends and so did we.  We are all disappointed that it is over, but also looking forward to a quieter, more relaxed summer ahead.  With less rushed evenings and more relaxed weekends, we can focus on enjoying the rest of the summer doing “a lot of nothing!”  Some idleness perhaps will not be too bad and I am hoping we take advantage of it since Fall ball is only a month away!


winning team

This summer baseball season, I have witnessed some amazing friendships being made.  The team of boys that Drew is playing on, is one of the nicest groups of boys I have encountered in all the years my boys have been playing sports.  They all get along so nicely, cheering, rooting and encouraging each other on!.  They have had good games and bad ones.  Games they have lost by a lot and games they have won by a lot.   For these kids though, the score doesn’t seem to matter.  Whether they strike out, or hit a home run, they are in the dugout yelling out words of encouragement.  They have come up with nicknames for each other and have chants and cheers they sing out as they get up to the plate.

Some of the boys have known each other from playing on other teams, some from school, and others just from the neighborhood.  Some had never met each other before the season began, but after spending so many days a week together, at practices and games, they have started to become like a family.  I had heard about “baseball families”.  It is hard not to  become one after spending so many hours together.  This goes for the parents as well as we sit on the bleachers or seek out a shady spot five or six nights a week as we watch our boys play.

Summer ball is keeping us pretty busy but in the end, they are creating camaraderie and friendships that may never have have happened if it weren’t for the game.  I had regretted not putting Drew in a summer camp this year but realize that baseball has provided him just that –  interaction with peers, making new friends, and engaging  him in an environment that is pushing him harder than I think he ever expected while giving him the confidence he needs to become a better ball player.

Best of all, he is making some great friends in the process.

oh…and as for the lucky bat….https://aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/confidence/ , he got another hit tonight at his first at bat.  he did not have a hit at each at bat, but he was “swinging for the stars” and that new confidence was still there!



My younger son Drew loves baseball.  This year, he is on the summer travel B-Team.  He was so excited when he found out that he had made the team.  He is so proud of his uniform!  He wears number 36, his lucky number.  His team consists of a great group of 5th and 6th grade boys and some really encouraging, supportive and dedicated coaches.  Listening to them cheer each other on is one of my favorite parts of the game.

Drew is a decent player, he is on the small side but works extremely hard to keep up with the kids who are bigger than him.   For what he lacks in size, he makes up for in enthusiasm and spirit.  He has one of the loudest voices on the field, always yelling out instructions to his teammates.

Drew has been struggling with his batting this year.  Since he is small, he has a small strike zone so is often walked.  He loves to steal bases.  He steals every chance he gets, almost always sliding.  I think that he believes the dirtier he gets the better the slide!!  He has been disappointed in himself when it comes to batting though.  This has been causing him to be quite down on himself when he talks about his at bats.  This morning he found a penny and he said he was going to put it in his back pocket for good luck, (we still think every time we find a penny, it is my mom sending us a message telling us she is watching over us).

One of his teammates just got a new bat.  Drew has been envious of the bat since he saw it.  He hadn’t used it yet, but the teammate let him try it out a bit at practice to see if he liked it.  If you can fall in love with an inanimate object, then Drew has found his beloved!!  He had Dave driving him around for days trying to find the bat at several sporting goods stores.  No luck.  Finally, Drew found the bat on line.  It is quite expensive so we told him that if he paid for half, we would pay the rest.  We ordered it on line.  He has been tracking the delivery of it ever since.  It did not arrive in time for today’s game.  He was not very happy about that.  Lucky for him, the boy who had the bat already, let him use it for the game.

First time Drew got up to bat, he hit a line drive to right field!!!!!!  Unfortunately it went right to the right fielder and Drew was out.  I figured he’d be upset, but quite the contrary.  He was beaming!  He kept saying that it was his biggest hit ever!   Then, in the fifth inning, he was up again.   After several foul balls, Drew hit another line drive right over the left fielder’s head!  A double!!!!  To Drew though, it was as good as hitting a home-run.  He could not stop smiling.

What a confidence booster the game was for him today.  He has not stopped talking about it.  He is convinced it was the bat.  He has vividly explained the feeling of the ball hitting the bat over and over to us all afternoon.  He says he has never felt anything like it.  Normally, he has trouble bouncing back after a game if he feels he played badly.  Today, it has been all smiles, and exhilaration.  He can not wait to play in the next game!

After the game, I asked him if he thought it was the lucky penny in his pocket that “helped” him get those big hits tonight.  He told me it was “totally the bat.”  He said that he had forgotten the penny and  showed me what he had in his back pocket instead.  It was my mom’s mass card.  A laminated one that he told me he keeps in his pocket during his games.  So maybe it was the bat, maybe it was his angel grandma, or maybe he just needed that boost of confidence to make him realize that he could do it.  Whatever it was, it was uplifting for me to see that glint of inspiration he has while he looks forward to the next game.


Summer Ball


Drew tried out for the baseball summer league in town.  He found out this week that he made the B team.  He is so excited!!  What I love most about the make up of the team, is that the coaches looked for more than just ability.  They also  based it on how well the kids worked together and respected one another.  This has always been a huge factor in the way Dave and I have raised our boys to play sports  –  and not only in sports, but in life.  They need to know how to be good people, good friends and demonstrate a positive attitude.  I did not attend the tryouts, so I do not know if Drew was actually a better hitter, catcher or thrower, but I do know that he has an amazing and positive way of working with his team.  He is always the one of the kids out on the field calling out to his teammates, encouraging them and rooting them on.

Drew respects his coaches and the coaches decisions, and he respects his teammates too.  This seems to be evident of the entire team this year,  I hope that they have a winning season, but if they all go into the season with the attitudes they are showing now, and all getting along and rooting for one another, they will be learning something that is much more important than winning.  They are going to learn the importance of perseverance and endurance.  Losing will teach them just as much as winning, and although winning is much more fun, they will learn how to get through rough patches and hopefully to realize that it is important to never give up.

The kids, coaches, and parents are going to be spending a lot of time together this summer.  Our team is lucky to have dedicated, thoughtful, and skilled coaches who will have an extremely positive impact on the boys.  They are offering them their time.  Not only just for games, but for practices too and in doing so, they are giving them the chance to play in a non-threatening environment where the entire team will be engaged.  They are giving them a chance to play, have fun, learn and hopefully pull off a few wins as a result.


Play Ball!

children play

With two sons, and a husband involved in baseball, I have been to many games to watch and cheer them all on.   My youngest son Drew is extremely competitive so when he was younger he hated the “no strike outs” and “no outs” rules in the early years of baseball and tee-ball.  He loves Little League now – it is quite competitive and I cannot help but get excited when he is at bat or when he makes a play at the plate (his favorite position is catcher).  I must admit, I am more than just a little bit competitive myself…so I find myself yelling and cheering a little louder from the sidelines than I really should be.  The kids are out there, cheering each other on and motivating each other to do their best despite the score. 


The games have definitely become more fun to watch, as the kids have gotten older.  When they were little, there were plenty of kids who would be in the outfield picking dandelions or spinning in circles rather than playing the game.  Innings could go on forever!!  Now, that they actually understand the rules and have a goal at the end of the season for winning, they really focus on the logistics of the game. 


Now that they are older, baseball has become a much bigger commitment as well.  A Teams, B Teams, tryouts, travel…it is much more of an obligation.  Yet in the days where so many kids are addicted to the computer, video games or the television, it is nice to see these kids outside playing and being active.  They way it should be. 


When homework and dinner are done,  it gives me such pleasure that my boys prefer to go outside and play. I love that they are out there being active and exercising and in a time where everyone seems over-scheduled, my boys are finding time for childhood.   A chance to play outdoors where they can use their imaginations as they envision themselves in the big league making the big catch or hitting the grand slam!  The spontaneous, free play of the backyard… no arranged playdates, no schedules to follow.  Just getting outside for a game of ball.  There is not much better than that in my kids’ opinions and that is fine with me.