Originally published July 18, 2014.
This is dedicated to my friends, the 2014 Astros Moms.
July 18, 2014 is just another ordinary day for most people, but not for me. Not today. I plan to savor every minute of this extraordinary day. It’s the last day of the last road tournament of my youngest son’s youth baseball career. We’re all riding high off the excitement of a late inning victory last night and the hope of one last national championship, but I know when it’s over, win or lose, the reality will hit and we’ll all be a little sad. The reality is, it’s the last day of the last road tournament of our sons’ youth baseball careers. I feel a twinge of melancholy now before the first pitch is even thrown.
It has been a privilege to watch my son and his teammates become men on the diamond. As a baseball mom, I’ve steered clear of dugouts, bullpens and cages. My place has been on the sidelines, breathing sighs of relief on my son’s good days and suppressing the urge to gnaw off my own arm when I helplessly watch him struggle. Today, there is a perch reserved just for me in the bleachers and while I’ll be watching and cheering, adrenaline pulsing through my veins and a towel on my head (a story for another blog), I know it will be a little different.
In the back of my mind, I’ll know it’s the last day of the last road trip. There’s something special about being on the road. There’s a special sort of bonding that happens. It is on road trips that you realize teammates are more than friends. They are brothers. It is on the road when “team” means family.
These young men have been together for a long time. It’s hard to imagine that soon they will scatter. With scholarships waiting, I’m excited about what the future holds for each and every one of these players and most especially for my son. I’ve no doubt they will cross paths again and will stay in touch. The future is bright, but the truth is, after today it will never be the same. So just for today when the ump shouts, “Ballgame,” I’ll let myself be a little sad, watching from the sidelines, as this chapter finally comes to an end.