Watching my older daughter play softball has never been particularly exciting. Our town's girls softball is very laid back. That's not the problem. I tend to like this approach. There is less cut throat competition and more camaraderie. When your kid isn't athlete of the year, this approach is more fun and less stressful. The girls spend more time discussing what cheers to do while waiting for their at bats, and less time following the game. They shriek and cheer as loudly for a foul ball as they do for a home run. They encourage each other with "you are the best pitcher EVER!!!! You're awesome!" They have even been known to hug each other, while on the field, after a particularly exciting play. But even I have a limit to being relaxed about sports.
Teresa enjoys this softball more for the social aspects of the game than the actual game itself. This year she waffled about signing up to play. In fact, I went down and signed up Kate only, because Teresa was leaning so heavily towards not playing. I never pushed it, just asked her if she wanted to play and left it at that. Finally on the last day possible, she asked me to sign her up to play. I have regretted it all season long. It has been painful to watch her. She looks bored out on the field. She will watch a ball roll by her. Really! Watch it go right by her, not even a few feet away. When I ask her why she didn't get the ball she replied, "Mo-um! It didn't come to me!" Her coach has to tell her to put her glove on while she's playing. Seriously?! And when she is at bat, she stands there with the bat on her shoulder and watches every single pitch go by without moving a muscle. Sometimes she gets lucky and gets walked. But many times she just strikes out. Finally about half way through the season I had had enough. Why was I wasting my time sitting there watching her "play", if she couldn't be bothered to even make an effort? So as she walked out to the outfield I called her over and this was our actual conversation.
M: Next time you get up, swing. the. stinking. bat. If you just stand there, I will make you walk home.
T: You're mean!
M: Yes I am. Now get out there, keep your glove on, and don't chew on it.
I felt a twinge of guilt that I wasn't being more supportive and blah blah and so on. But next time she got up, wouldn't you know, she swung away. Swung the bat hard. I wish I could say she hit it but she didn't. She struck out. The other parents must think I'm certifiable because I was clapping and cheering like she hit a grand slam. She has kept on swinging and after her next game she very proudly told her Dad she got a hit. It was a foul ball but still, a hit. Apparently, she asked to play catcher, and surprisingly enough she's not that bad at it. At least she keeps the glove on and out of her mouth when she's catching.
Her last game of the regular season was the other night and I had to miss nearly the entire game because of a school event. I arrived at the field and she happened to be up at bat. Girlfriend swung that bat like she meant business, made contact, and got herself a double. I didn't think anyone could be more proud of her at that moment than I was. I was wrong. When she came home the entire team piled off the bench screaming and jumping up and down and hugging her. The coaches all had high fives and pats on the back for her. Her team lost the game. But you wouldn't know it. They were celebrating anyways. Because Teresa finally hit the damn ball. You gotta love that.