Friday, June 13, 2008

Youngest Son's effort almost rewarded

Youngest Son has football camp off and on during the summer and he's playing for two baseball teams -- a school team coached by his freshman coach and a Colt league. The Colt program he's joined fields two teams in their league, one populated mostly by 15-year olds, like Youngest Son, and the other populated by 16-year olds. It's a 16-year old league, which is why I'm calling Youngest Son's 15-year old team "Trial By Fire."

Trial By Fire is coached by the league director and he works hand in glove with the sophomore coach at Youngest Son's school. The sophomore coach runs the older team. I'll call that team "Great Expectations." Youngest Son thought this was a pretty sweet set-up, especially because his school summer coach used to assist with Trial By Fire.

Then he found out that the school summer coach can't get along with the coach of Trial By Fire. They do not speak. Youngest Son had hoped, of course, that they would talk frequently -- and preferably about him.

That left a limited opportunity to make an impression with the school's sophomore coach. The chance came a couple of Sundays ago, on a mercilessly hot day. Great Expectations swept Trial By Fire in a doubleheader, as (yes) expected, but Youngest Son participated in a meaningful and positive way. He caught five innings of the first game and was the starting pitcher in the second.

And he apparently succeeded in making the desired impression.

Youngest Son's been kind of worn down this week. Football camp has kept him late on a few nights this week and he's had several school summer league games. And he's still got summer school.

His computer course ends today with a final -- but that was the only event on today's docket. No football today. No summer league. Nothing for Trial By Fire. He was looking forward to coming home and lazing around the house -- but then the Great Expectations coach asked him what he'd be doing today.

"Nothing," he said, and you can see why he said it: He had no sports-related events scheduled.

"Are you supposed to pitch this weekend?" asked the sophomore coach.

"Yes," Youngest Son replied, curious as to what this might be all about.

"Then I won't pitch you," the coach said. "But I'd like you to catch for us on Friday. We have a doubleheader and we're going to be short-handed."

"Sure, Coach, I can do it," Youngest Son said.

"Well, check it out. I'll call this evening to confirm."

This was the very first bit of information about the day's events that Youngest Son chose to share with us last evening when he returned from football. He may have been entirely through the front door when he told us.

And, eventually, the coach did call.

There was, however, a small problem.

Great Expectations is supposed to play today in a tournament Downstate -- and the first game was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. They could take Youngest Son from school at 6:30 a.m. -- but I had to tell the coach that he could not go.

There was the small matter of that final. If the game had been closer by or later in the day we might have worked something out. But I couldn't let him do this.

Youngest Son was unhappy. "If I'd known about this just a day earlier I could have taken my final yesterday," he lamented. Apparently some of the kids in his class have a basketball tournament this weekend and they'd made arrangements to take the final early.

The coach understood the problem and he promised to call again should a need arise.

That was the spin I put on it with Youngest Son: You've made the impression you wanted to make. Your hard work is reaping at least a partial reward, I told him.

But he wanted more.

And don't we all?


Jean-Luc Picard said...

That was so unfortunate. That's hindsight for you.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well at first i thought this was going to be a sports post, and you know what i think of those, but no, it was a "lesson in life" post, and quite a nice one actually!

smiles, bee

Ralph said...

Does Youngest hope that he will be the starter one opening day at Comiskey? Or (shudder!) Wrigley? At the latter, at least the pitchers do swing the bat on occasion...

Jeni said...

Don't we all -want more, something else, something better! And yes, the final was the most important thing but too, you're so right that he had indeed made his mark, left the desired impression. Great story and excellent example set for the boy!