Monday, July 27, 2009

How I've Spent My Summer Vacation

I turned to my wife Lauren last week and said, "I think I finally hit my limit."

Since March, I've been coaching 8-year olds for the equivalent of four seasons. My son Matthew played for a town recreation team this spring, along with a more advanced travel team sponsored by the training facility I work at. That travel team continued into the summer; we have a playoff game tomorrow and if we win that, a championship game on Thursday to finish up the season. Without sounding too much like one of "those" parents, he had a remarkable spring. He was one of the better pitchers in his town league (8 and 9 year-olds) and gave up only three hits all spring. So when it came time to put an 8-year old town travel team together for a local summer tournament, he was one of the first kids chosen. That in itself was fine, except that the other coaches unanimously asked me to be the head coach which I knew was going to present a conflict or two with two full-time jobs and the other travel team. However, the other coaches pledged full support and delivered BIG TIME (thanks Rich & Larry!). So for the past six weeks, it's been 6 to 7 games a week split between Matthew's two summer teams. Matthew has given up just two or three hits all summer on these two teams and has really blossomed as a pitcher. Lauren and I are already looking for ways to spend his signing bonus when he gets to the Major Leagues (I say, that's a joke son, and by the way, he gets the talent from my Dad who was scouted by the Red Sox while in high school.)

One other thing - you don't know just how hard an 8-year old boy can throw a baseball until one of those kids hits you in the face with a fastball. One of Matthew's teammates hit me on my right cheekbone last Friday night during a warm-up drill. I literally never saw the ball coming. All I remember hearing is another kid yelling, "LOOK OUT!" before everything went black for a second. I never lost consciousness, but I've had a pounding headache for more than 72 hours and there's some swelling, numbing and discoloration around my right eye. I'm lacking some of the better-known symptoms, but I'm pretty sure I suffered a low-grade concussion. (Side note - I suffered what the doctor called a "minor concussion" about 9 years ago and if these two situations are minor, I can't even begin to imagine what a serious concussion must feel like. Both times the headaches have been brutal and I have a reasonably high threshhold of pain.)

Matthew's travel team has a playoff game Tuesday night. If they lose, they're done; if they win they play for their summer league championship on Thursday. Either way, the season ends no later than this Thursday. By the time all is said and done, it will have been about 60 games since March. As I said, "I think I finally hit my limit."

Thank God!

And I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything.

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