Since June, we have been immersed in select ball. We are now in the "off season"....time off all the way until January. Ha! We just came off a huge win so of course I want to brag about that but more importantly I want to hold on to my memories and thoughts about these times. I received a comment from an old high school friend who have kids older than me. He was sharing with me about how much he missed watching his boys play at this age. It made me want to freeze this time, tuck it away nicely and have it forever. Thus, I blog it.
Select ball is a whole new world for us. MSW did not play select...it was Pearsall, folks and select ball has really just emerged the last few years. When Cade was invited to try-out we were a little skeptical but alot excited. Caden was born one day before the age cut-off so he plays with boys a year older than him. Good for his development but at 6 and 7, a year makes a big difference. We were worried about him making the team but thought it would be great experience, none the less. We were so proud of him to make the team of 12. And so the adventure began...
From the long, hot practices twice a week this summer to the first tournament where they could not even hit the ball into the outfield. We did not know any of the boys before he made the team. None of them go to his school and none had been on his previous MPLL tams. There was an awkwardness at the beginning. The boys getting to know each other and the parents figuring each other out. I remember one practice early on in which they picked two boys to pick their teams for a scrimmage. Caden was the last boy picked. I wanted to go get him and take him home. But, I sat there and watched my boy move on un-phased by it and play his heart out and show those boys just because he was one of the smallest he could still play.
We played a few local, summer tournaments and by the second tournament we were placing and then winning. The boys came together in an amazing way, the parents bonded and we became the San Antonio Spartans. By early fall, we took the show on the road. Winning San Marcos, then the State tournament and finally the World Series. What a ride for these boys!
We've had some bumps in the road. A coaching change, some cuts, some adds...through it all we've remained respectful, united and standing for the ethics we've had all along. Our boys are not flashy, the coaches don't yell or belittle, the boys are always, always expected to be respectful of everyone and most of all reminded it is a game and to have fun. Oh we have seen some teams. From the $200,000 custom painted team tour bus, to the teams decked out from head to toe in the most expensive, matching gear. We see the teams that make their kids run for an hour after a loss to the coaches and parents that yell so terribly that I would call it verbal abuse. The teams that travel with sound systems so that each players theme song is played as they take the plate. Oh it is a totally different world from Little League. The level of competition is unbelievable. These little guys can play.
So this past weekend it did not surprise me a bit that the SA Spartans played their little hearts out (going unbeaten, I must say), had a complete blast and showed everyone what playing with class looks like! After leaving SA at 5 am, playing 3 games on Saturday we all went back to the hotel and let the boys cut loose. We let them swim in the indoor pool for hours. The parents sat around laughing and telling stories while the boys acted like boys just as they should. I love that no one looses site of the fact that it is just a game and they are little boys that should just be having fun. Nobody mentioned that a World Series Championship was on the line the next day or put pressure on the boys to settle down, or focus or go to sleep. We all know what has been instilled in these kids. We all know that them having fun together is much more important than anything else and we all have complete confidence in our boys to take the field the next day and give it their all. And, that is exactly what they did. The friendships and life lessons they are learning from this experience is priceless. The memories they are gaining is far better than any championship ring or trophy they can put in their room. I really hope we can keep this train rolling for their childhood.
If I ever wonder if all the time and money we spend is worth it...look at that face! Pure joy after the State win. The boys in the background are not our team...just so happens that Austin has a Spartans team with the same uniforms.
Your 2011 Winter World Series Champions!!! These are some of the best kids around. They all have amazing personalities.
His first ring!
So proud of our boy! It was cold, cold, cold but so worth it! You can't take away the experience of watching your son play a game he loves so much and winning it all. Our hearts swell!