For years, I have spent most summer weekends (and many a summer evening) sitting on bleachers cheering on my Boys of Summer.
It started with my husband, who played in a 12-inch softball league. Many of our “dates” consisted of me on the bleachers cheering him on and waiting for the game to end so we could go get something to eat and maybe see a movie.
Then we got married and had kids. Who grew up playing baseball/softball from the moment they could walk. So I was back on the bleachers, this time cheering on the kids in the local park district leagues. From there, both moved on to travel teams, which for the uninitiated means official uniforms (versus matching team t-shirts) and weekends on the road to get to wherever the next tournament is being held. At considerably higher prices than the park district but for a “higher level of play” and “more exposure.”
For a couple of years, summer meant saying good-bye to my husband in May, as we split the kids…him taking our daughter since he was one of her softball team’s coaches, and me taking our son since…well…I was the only option left with a driver’s license and a credit card. And I can cheer the team on pretty well from the bleachers, having already gain extensive experience at this point.
When my daughter threw in the towel on travel softball (and the possibility of a sports scholarship…sigh…but that’s a story for another day), we all focused on The Boy’s travel team. And continue to spend every weekend at tournaments.
Now it may sound at this point like I’m not happy with the Boys of Summer. Which is untrue. There are a number of upsides to being a baseball mom.
1) I get a killer tan every year. I actually had a woman compliment me on my tan not long ago…and it’s still early in the season!
2) It’s nice to spread vacation across a number of quick weekend trips and see a little of the Midwest. On a recent weekend, I got to walk around the College of St. Mary’s campus…beautiful architecture and landscaping.
3) It’s a great opportunity to spend time with the kids and hang out with friends, while playing Bags. Hard to beat a relaxing evening spent that way.
But having spent so many years on the bleachers, it can start to pall. At some point in the season, I start to lose interest a bit and I start to get up from the bleachers to wander around earlier and earlier in each game. I also start to look for reasons to not attend.
But when I start to feel that way, I remind myself that, some day, I will be sad when we no longer have games to go to. And, of course, I will need to figure out a new way to get my tan when the Boys of Summer are gone.