Monday, October 6, 2008

Tom Hanks was wrong

I'm going to re post something from my old AOL journal. This is a piece that is special to me and I want to make sure it's incorporated here in my new journal. This was written in 2002 but the emotion of the day is never far from my heart. It was one of those landmark days in our life. It will also give you a better introduction to my son, Patrick. I wish that everyone in the world could have a Patrick in their life. His heart is pure solid gold.
Well, the Chicago White Sox won the wold series! I love it when underdogs win things. Of course, if the Astro's had won it would have been cool too. I would be more excited if the Cubbies had been the Chicago team to win, but oh well. Anyway, with so much baseball news in my ears lately I've been reliving my baseball memories of my son, Patrick. He was an absolutely great player. People who watched him play for years still cannot believe that he wasn't drafted by the pros. The dream of his life was to play professional baseball. He would have done it for free even. But, it wasn't meant to be for whatever reason. I went back and dug up a piece that I wrote right after his last college game three years ago. By reading it below, I hope you get a feel for him and what a neat guy he is, but mostly I think that this puts into words how very much I love him.

Saturday I sat bundled in layers of clothes and blankets along the fence behind third base. It was biting cold and spitting sleet and rain. I wouldn't have left my place for the warmth of the car for a million dollars. It was, what turned out to be my beloved son's last baseball game. It was the championship game of the NCAA North Central Region Tournament- Division ll (Baseball), the winner would advance to the Division ll World Series in Alabama. Our boys had lost the first game on Thursday and had fought their way back up through the losers bracket on Friday to be here. We were #2 seed, Ashland University was #1. It was a double elimination tournament, we'd lost one already, they hadn't lost any. We would have to beat them twice that day. Without going into a boring play by play of the game, I will simply say our boys lost. They've come from behind many times to win a crucial game, I wasn't really worried. Somewhere in the eighth inning it began to dawn on me that we probably weren't going to win this time. With that realization came the gut-wrenching epiphany that I was watching my son's last game. I couldn't even breathe for a second. I watched him play third base trying to burn that picture into my mind. I wanted to catch every detail, every movement, every mannerism that makes him unique. I was trance-like, blinking away tears and praying, yes praying that he could have just one more game.This might seem silly to a lot of people. Some might argue that it's just a stupid game. They don't know my son. They don't know that his first word ever was "ball". They don't know that this child of my heart has lived, breathed, slept, and eaten baseball since he was old enough to know what a baseball was. The don't know the sacrifices he's made to play America's game. They don't know that baseball has been his life, his dream, his love. But I knew. I knew how badly he wanted to win that game. I knew how much he dreaded the last out to come in the ninth inning. I knew, and my heart was breaking for him. It wasn't to be. We lost 6-2. After the game coach took the team a little behind third base for their usual post-game huddle. We, the parents of the eight seniors on the team stood huddled, watching, tears streaming down all our faces, unified in our unspoken understanding of what this meant to these boys; to ourselves. This was it. The end of a 16 year era in our lives. The end of little boys' dreams. Coach talked to them for about 5 minutes. As he and the coaching staff turned to walk back to the dug-out they were wiping tears. The underclassmen followed close behind, dry eyed. The image of what was left of that huddle behind third base will never leave me. Eight tough-guy athletes, arms around each other, crying. Not because they'd lost a game, but because it was their last.It seemed an eternity that they huddled there, holding on to one another, as we their parents stood helplessly watching their hearts break. Finally, they headed back to the dug-out, wiping their eyes, gathering their gear, hugging coaches. One by one the seniors headed out to where we were. I thought my heart would break as I watched sons and Dads and Moms grabbing each other and just holding on wordlessly because words weren't necessary. My Patrick was the last one out. His Dad walked up to meet him halfway, they grabbed each other, they cried, I knew my heart was breaking. I couldn't move, I could only stand there, tears silently streaming down my face, watching my son walk away for the last time from his favorite place on earth, a baseball field. He walked towards me, arms reaching and tears streaming. I couldn't find the words I wanted to say. Couldn't come up with a Mom ism to give him comfort. I could only squeeze him and say "I love you". I wanted to tell him how proud I was of him, what a good and loving kid he was, how much fun we'd had over the years through all of our baseball travels, what good memories he'd given us, what a good sport he'd always been, and how very lucky I was to be his Mom, but I couldn't talk. He held on to me for a long time, squeezing hard and just before he let go he said, "Thanks Mom, for everything". Tom Hanks was wrong. There is crying in baseball.


Kelly Dawn said...

when my ausitn quit playing baseball 2 years ago? I cried...he was only 11....I have been there huddled in the blanket in 30 degree weather...keeping score and loving every minute of it....


kbear's heart 2 said...

a Beautiful entry!!! i'm so glad you saved it and shared it again here i have tears down my face and i wasn't even there i have some small notion of how he felt i played ball for a very long time too it's your heart and soul that you put on the line yes it is just a game, but there's nothig like the experience on the field wherever you are the strengths that it gives you are immeasurable and the memories we never forget! thanks again HUGZ to all of you!~kbear

Linda said...

That's such a beautiful story, and it made me tear up. The "last" thing in a kid's life growing up is so hard. It's so hard on us as parents too...their lives are so important to our hearts.

Thank you for sharing this moent of your son's life with us.

Pooh Hugs,

Sandra said...

that reminded me of my sons last game when his team went to state as a senior and they lost...... I took pictures from afar and still can see them all together sitting under a tree with the coach...... waiting for the bus to come and bring them back home.... they were the first team from their school to make it too state. he then went to collage and started playing but pulled his shoulder out and that was the end...... he now plays soft ball and golfs a lot. Still a good guy

Lisa said...

Hi! I loved this entry! Especially because I am also a baseball mom and my son loves to play too. I am instantly a new follower of your blog and will send you an invite to mine. I live in KY too.

garnett109 said...

This story brought tears to my eyes.

bookncoffee said...

ohhh...I need to go make sure I save a few of my special AOL entries. In case AOL's transfer doesn't take. Scares me.
Oh well.
Your entry here made me cry too. And I'm sitting here at in my office at work. lol Hope no one notices. lol

Michelle said...

Wow - I sat here bawling my eyes out reading your entry. I am not a baseball mom - but a ice hockey mom and my son is 11 and I can relate to so much of what you wrote here. You write beautifully!!! Love,Michelle

Becky said...

been catching up on your blog here...and tomorrow is Oct 8th!!!! Don't forget!!!!

loved this entry

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Thanks for stopping by my place :o)

This was a very powerful entry about your son, and I definitely had tears welling in my eyes.

I am sad that neither Chicago team made it past the first round this year.

Leslie said...

That's a moving entry, no wonder you brought it with you. Thanks for sharing

moshell's lilbit of space said...

This so made me cry..I know where you are coming from (well maybe not for as long, but I do know)

You are a great mom...and I am glad to have met you.

Janie said...

A great entry. As parents we feel for our children. I feel like he didn't need any words from you because he knew what you were feeling. Hope you have a blessed rest of the week. Hugs, Janie

MariesImages said...

Thank you for posting this again. It is the first time reading it & I LOVED IT!
For me, it reminded me of my loyalty to my sons' games. I was one of those moms that never missed a game, unless there were 2 scheduled at the same time for both sons. My ex went to one & I went to the other. Sports were EVERYTHING to my sons. My youngest LOVED baseball, too.

Thanks again