|Milford Softball All-Stars winning sectionals|
Photo by Stephen Ball
Now here's the caveat: Lizzy's team has become more muted as they move up, and the chanting from the last game was largely from the parents, and it was borderline nasty. Yelling at umps (our side). A coach (their side) harassing his own pitcher with screaming aggressive chants of of "Dig Deep Claire!" and "You gotta want it, Claire!" and "Show 'em what you're made of, Claire!" Dozens of times, over and over. It was awful, actually. I felt bad for Claire. She's eleven years old.
The coaches of Lizzy's team are nearly perfect, which is a nice kind of cosmic justice--calm, caring, instructional, stern, smart. They're also focused and hard-working and they've crafted this team of girls into their image and thus, less chanting over time as the stakes go up. They're in the state championship series for their age group starting today and I don't expect a lot of noise by the girls, who have taken on a kind of warrior persona that's a bit daunting, actually. No, now it's the parents gone wild, which isn't quite as much fun. Always a devoted but lackadaisical spectator, I am no longer reading on the sidelines. I jump up when Lizzy goes to the On-Deck circle in anxiety and excitement and leap and cheer if she gets a hit. It can't be helped.
If she could see me, which luckily she can't, she would give me not the adorable thumbs-up of a year ago, or even a big, beaming smile. No, once she turned eleven on Memorial Day weekend, she turned into a pre-teen and they, apparently, quickly master cool disdain. She gives me the Look, which says "please don't embarrass me further, mother" that I am still getting in nearly-lethal doses by her fifteen-year-old sister Ciara. It's not quite fair that when one's baby crosses this Rubicon there's no compensation given. In April we went on an awesome baseball road trip where she kissed me not only good night but good morning, and sometimes good afternoon. That golden era, of age 8 to 10 (my mother remembers it as 8-12 and maybe there are remnants for awhile. She crawled into bed with me last night) when kids think their parents are the be-all, end-all destination for good times and wisdom. After games now when I ask her questions rather than wanting to discuss it with me she just looks out the window, probably thinking of her coaches' words instead. Sigh.
|Saying Hello (or Good-bye) at Camp Horizons|
Because joy is contagious and preserving it hard.