My kid didn’t hit the home run today.

This time, my kid was the one who let the ball roll right between his legs with bases loaded in the last inning of the last game of the season.

My kid missed a play that we practiced a hundred times the day before
and when it happened, everything inside my overly-competitive self screamed.

I wanted to scream at him.

I was so angry.

I was embarrassed that my kid’s misstep cost us the game.

He’s seven.

I simmered as he packed up his things.

I thought—of all the times to miss the play, does he even realize what he just did? That it cost his team the game?

And as he walked out of the dugout with shrugged shoulders and confusion on his face, he asked me, “Was it my fault?”

And I felt a shameful, sinking feeling when I realized that I had a choice.

I had a choice to dwell on this moment of frustration and forget a season of base hits.

I had a choice to let the outcome of a 3-second play ruin the remainder of my son’s day or fuel his passion to celebrate, even when finishing in second place.

I had a choice to badmouth a coach and point a finger or make this a learning moment.

I had a choice to be embarrassed of my kid for one mistake or point out his many highlights.

I had a choice to bury last week’s grand slam under my current disappointment.

My kid wasn’t the one who hit the home run today.

He wasn’t the one who made the tough play.

But you see, every day can’t be a home run day, or even a .300 day.

And it’s my job to let go of the “my kid has to be the best” mentality in favor of age-appropriate actions for little league.

This phase we’re in?

It’s less about the plays we don’t make and all about developing a love for the game.

There will come a time to drill harder, relive the replays, and be super focused on correcting the mistakes, but even as an adult, I have more than my fair share of error-filled days.

And I know he wanted more than anyone to make that play.

I don’t always make the right choice, but acknowledging my son’s effort has never felt wrong. 

And neither has choosing grace.

Not every day will be a home run day or even a .300 day.

But he makes me proud all the days.

This post originally appeared on Trains and Tantrums by Whitney Ballard

 

You may also like:

To the Parent Yelling in the Stands

Are Youth Sports Robbing Our Kids of Their Childhoods?

Whitney Ballard

Whitney Ballard is a writer and mom advocate from small town Alabama. She owns the Trains and Tantrums blog, where she writes about motherhood, marriage, mental health, and more. Whitney went from becoming a mom at sixteen to holing a Master’s degree; she writes about that journey, along with daily life, through a Christian lens. When she’s not writing while on her porch swing or cheering/yelling at the ballpark, you’ll find her in the backyard with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.