Watching my kids and grandkids play baseball has been one of the highlights of my life. I can remember when Jeff coached his first team way back in the 80’s. He didn’t have a kid on the team, but volunteered anyway. The McDonough competitive spirit was always looking for a way to compete. I attended his first game in an effort to show support. I ended up hooked before the 5th inning. Je ended up coaching our boys and I was the scorekeeper, handing out Tootsie Rolls for hits and great plays. Who knew I could have such fun with this?

Any parent with a kid on the team knows the feeling of wanting theirs to be successful whenever he/she is at the plate. The decisions they have to make in the blink of an eye make the difference in the outcome. Every swing of the bat, every ball that’s heading your way as the sun threatens to blind you, can make a difference. It’s all about being prepared and knowing what you’re going to do before the ball gets there.

This week, the Berlin Senior League team that my grandsons, Tristan and Clarke, are on, and my son, Cameron, manages, played in the Maryland State Championship tournament. It was a tough week with a game just about every night. They fell into the loser’s bracket after a tough loss to St. Mary’s. They stomped us and it wasn’t easy to take as we knew we could have played better.

To make things more challenging, Tristan had to leave for a tournament in Georgia, so the team knew they didn’t have his pitching or bat to back them up. No matter, they rose to the occasion and played like the well-coached and parented kids that they were raised to be. Clarke hit his first home run of the season which put the icing on the cake for me. I had to get that little bit of bragging in, live with it.

The Boys of Berlin didn’t let the balls get by them. They swung when they needed to, pitched strikes, and watched the bad ones go by. The lessons of baseball will live on in their lives as they learn to work hard and swing at the ones that matter. Finding the ones that matter and letting the bad ones go by are important lessons and not just for the kids.