Who knew a jersey could bring on a flood of emotions? As I was cleaning Carson’s closet this morning, a bag fell from the top shelf. The contents spilled all over the floor like leaves falling from the trees in Autumn. What filled the bag was not leaves however, it was jerseys from the years of sports that Carson has played. As I folded the jerseys and filled the bag back, I came across one in particular. The one jersey that almost ended my son’s love of baseball. It was his 2014 All-Star jersey from Greenwood, the recreation park where he plays ball.
Carson is my oldest of three sons. He has been involved in sports since the age of 3. He plays soccer, football and baseball. He’s my naturally athletic one. I come from a family of athletes so he gets it honest. My grandaddy played football for the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!), my daddy went to Francis Marion University on a soccer scholarship and me, well I have dabbled in a little of everything. I was a dancer for 10 years,took gymnastics, played tennis and softball. As an adult now you’ll find me at the gym doing crossfit, zumba or training with my personal trainer. I also enjoy running 5Ks, participating in FIA and becoming a Spartan. I will lay the smack down on my kids in the driveway in mean game of basketball or football or baseball. I don’t “let” my kids win because I don’t believe it teaches them anything of value. You work for what you deserve and its not worth it if it’s just handed to you.
So back to the jersey. This jersey is symbolic of his deserving a spot on the 2014 All-Star team. Carson is such a good baseball player, the best? No but certainly deserving of his achievement that year. Things all changed with the 2015 season. We were all shaken up when we were introduced to the wonderful game of “daddy ball”. You know, where your daddy is the coach so you automatically get a spot on the All-Star team although you are not deserving of it. Yep, you heard me.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. We had just finished up our season and we were celebrating with our team. I was talking among the parents. You become really close since you are spending a majority of your week together. I noticed that Chris, my husband, had been pulled over to the side by our coach. No biggie since he did help coach. I then noticed that the coach from another team had also pulled Chris to the side. At this point I knew something was up. All-Stars from our team were announced and Carson’s name wasn’t called. I was in shock. Not because I didn’t think the kids from our team didn’t deserve it because they did but what about my Carson. You see he made All-Stars the year before with a broken arm and this season he was fully recovered. He made numerous home runs, one almost every game, I know because I took a picture after each game and posted it to Facebook. So I was extremely confused and upset.
That night my Facebook was FLOODED with messages from parents. All wanting to know why Carson wasn’t on the team. They also filled me on the rumors around the ballfield. I even had one coach message me who had walked out of the all-star voting and quit coaching at the park all together. If you know me, I was furious. You can hurt me all you want but when it comes to my kids, momma DON’T play that game. I even had one of the board members and coach from our league message me so much going back and forth that my husband had to step in and ask him to stop. I am like Erin Brockovich. When I get on a mission, I cover all my bases, no pun intended. I don’t care who you are, what social status you are, what professional status you are. If I have questions, I want answers.
Long story short, Coach F, wanted his son on the all star team. He made an alliance with two other coaches who would vote his son on in exchange for voting their players on. What I couldn’t understand was that F’s son wasn’t even moving up the next season where this was Carson’s last year in Pee Wee and it would have meant a lot to him. Life lesson was learned for us though.
I won’t identify the other two coaches, I know if I were them I would be completely ashamed that I would sacrifice a childs feelings for the pleasure of getting what I wanted. Honestly I don’t see how they can even show their face in public but I guess that’s the difference in people. Some have morals, values and integrity and some are narcissistic, egotistical, poor excuses for a human being who really have no business coaching children. Especially when children look to their coaches as role models and people they can trust. These men however clearly showed that they will stoop to any level to get what they want even if it comes at the expense of a child’s feelings.
I watched my son cry himself to sleep for two weeks. He would beg me every night to call the coaches and ask if he could just sit on the bench as a part of the team at the all star games. He then swore off baseball all together. He eventually came around and tried out for a couple travel ball teams. He gave maybe 25% at these tryouts and you know what his reason was? Why try my best, it won’t get me anywhere? Wow! Talk about a broken heart. Especially at the tender age of 8. So if you ever want to know why I was so angry about this whole situation, that right there is why. Those grown men broke my son’s spirit.
Now that I look back, I’m glad to have it over with. I now know that my son and I can handle the let downs that are yet to come. This is life, it isn’t always going to be rainbows and sunshine and we are now prepared. At 8 years old Carson had learned one of the most important life lessons of all, Life ISN’T fair. Once you can get over that, you can handle anything that comes your way. The expectation of what is right and what should be is gone. You brush it off and move on.
Even though Carson swore off baseball all together, he’ll be back. I will too. I will be there as his biggest fan as I always have been. He makes me so proud and that’s the most important thing to me. As long as he wants to be there, I will support him.