Baseball is the all American sport, but when you are raised in the mountains, baseball takes a backseat to skiing. My kids were on the ski team - not the local baseball team. They did get to play a little ball now and then, but nothing like the usual Texas kid who starts t-ball at age five and continues every summer. I tell you this so that when I tell you that Jesse is playing softball, you have some idea how well she plays. Both my kids love sports and are fairly athletic. Bo has a mind for sports, statistic, rules, etc. Jesse - she just likes to play.
Last night we went to one of her games. I was determined to see her play this summer before the season was over. Last year I attended just about all of her games. This year, the house has consumed my life. The team she is on is a co-ed city league team. Some teams are pretty good, but most are just playing for fun. There are a few girls on her team that are great ball players, but most of the girls are like Jesse, who just like playing, but have no real understanding of the game. The guys on her team are pretty good, but they fail to communicate their knowledge of softball to the girls. After all, it is just for fun - why spend time coaching silly girls (why not?).
Jesse was playing right field although this year she has played catcher a few times. When she got up to bat, there happened to be a runner on third and one on first. Like the bleacher coach that I am, I hollered for her to give the runner time to get to second. She did not hear me, or chose not to hear me and hit the first ball that came to her (which was not a good ball). She popped it up and got out quickly. The second time she got up to bat, there was the same scenerio of runners. This time I made sure she heard me yell from the stands (which she really hates, but I thought it was important) to not swing - let the runner get to second. She gave me one of those looks that said, "I hate it when you do that. Now should I trust you or not?" She trusted me and let the ball go by. It bounced on the plate, the ump called a ball, but the runner was not allowed to run (some silly softball rule). She let the second ball go by - same plate thing. Now the guys in the dugout figured out what she was doing and started cheering for her to not swing. Third ball hit the plate again. The boys were cheering. The fourth ball went over the plate, and the ump called it a ball. She got to walk to first - bases were loaded. When the next player hit the ball, Jesse ran to second (good). The other team threw to first. There was a scramble for the ball, but the runner was safe. Meantime the runner on third started for home. The ball was thrown home, more scramble, and he was safe. When the dust cleared, there stood Jess on second base watching the whole thing. Did it occur to her to run to third? Did she watch the third base coach to see what he signaled? Did the third base coach signal? Who knows, but I sure got a kick out of it.
Last night when she called home (she has moved to the new house), she said, "Did you see me not swing at the balls?" I said yes. She said, "That was really hard." I hung up the phone and smiled, because when I chose to holler from the stands, I knew how she would react - indecision. I knew how hard it would be for her to let the balls go by - how nervous she is when batting. I am so proud of her for listening to me and sweating it out. Sometimes mothers do know best.