The Evil Dictator's baseball season began this Saturday-- sort of. The game was a practice game.
They say that the first at-bat gives a foreshadowing of the season. Let's hope that's true; in his first at-bat, Adam smacked a nice solid single right into the gap in left center.
I was talking to some of the other parents about how the first few games can be painful to watch; the kids are rusty from having not played all winter. This game was no exception. There were misjudgments, misplays and other mistakes. The guys played hard, though, and went up in the score early in the game. It went back and forth until the other team got ahead by a point, beating our guys 8 to 7.
Adam's old coach stopped by to say hello to him.
The day was cold, but I enjoyed the game. As the game ended and Adam joined in the team meeting, I remembered playing whiffleball with a seven-year-old in the backyard. I remembered the day I signed an eight-year-old up for baseball for the first time on cold February morning in 2003. I remembered bringing him to his first practice, another cold, cold day, where he could hardly throw the baseball-- a far cry from the guy who can whip a baseball from right field to second base and put it on a dime.
Season by season, he becomes a little more independent. I'm certain that he's glad that my ex and I go to the games and practices, but more and more it's his own thing. He works on his stance, his fielding, his base-running, making observations and corrections. Every season, he runs into and reconnects with old teammates, who, though they're on other teams, he still shares the bond of a season past. Every season he moves a little more away from me and a little more toward being a man. That's the funny thing about being a parent-- if you do it right, your child is not a little mini-you, but their own unique person. They show streaks of you and the other parent, but in the end, your kid becomes this amazing, unique individual. As I watched him Saturday, it was bittersweet; I saw my little boy leaving and the young man arriving. I saw the day that he had his own life, independent of me, looming on the horizon. It made me happy, and a little sad.