In our house there are two seasons. Winter and Baseball. 

All three sons play baseball, and even when we are not technically “in” baseball season…there is a tire hanging in the back yard to pitch into, we have a pitching mound, and they are playing. We have a huge bin full of gloves, bats, and balls. And all Curly has asked for his birthday this year is catcher’s gear…Grace played T Ball this year but it was mostly about her accessories. 

I don’t complain on cold games, during hot games…and as long as my kids are having a good time, I am having a good time. My kids have been on winning teams and losing teams and I still love the game…I love watching them play. 

Because I’m watching a bunch of kids playing a game. It’s a game. I’ve loved Baseball for as long as I can remember. And I love these kids. 

To me there is no room for bad sportsmanship…and sadly the worst sports I’ve seen have come from parents and other fans, and even some coaches.

I’ve seen a parent to his son the catcher(10 years old at the time) as he screamed in his face “you just cost us that inning!”

I’ve seen a coach tell the pitcher in front of my child as he went up to bat “it’s number 7, easy strike out.” And I watched my child wilt. 

We witnessed a “coach” lose it and run out and try to fight the ump, as my husband and I kicked ourselves for not recording it when we realized the coach was wearing a shirt that said “Positive Coaching, Positive Kids.” 

I’ve seen parents swear. And yell. Because our team came back and beat their team. After that whenever we’ve played those teams I’ve prayed we win, just because of those shitty fans.

On Sunday we went to watch our local minor league team play…but there was an added cause. My kindred’s husband and the motorcycle ride they started in honor of him were featured. I had been looking forward to this game for weeks! The culmination of so much work and tears, and grace were being shown in a very public way. Half my family were the first ones to arrive in our row and we sat and watched the beginning ceremony. Which was beautiful. I am so proud of her. I love her so much. And I cried. I know…surprise. My friend Autumn held my hand and cried too. No surprise there either. 

My other half arrived with one of our kids. And we all sat. We commented on how we were in such good seats. Grace was dancing and sitting, dancing and sitting. 

And then it began. The couple behind us asked Grace to sit down. Because they were keeping stats. Both of them. Like team stats. And then the screaming started. Full on yelling in our ears. At the players on both teams. They also yelled their conversation to each other…because I really wanted to know that she worked that day, and about her fit bit. And then they’d scream again. 

I kept going back and forth between “am I overreacting that my child can’t dance at a baseball game?” My daughter who is small for her age and even standing and dancing shorter than most regular kids sitting.  But it wasn’t just that…they must’ve been season ticket owners because they acted like they owned the entire stadium. They screamed mean things to the other pitcher or when the other team was up to bat.  When the hotdog guy came by the lady grabbed the box and tilted it toward her so she could see how much he sold. They were beyond obnoxious.  So Grace and I moved two seats down away from our family, so she could dance to the music they play when hitters came up to bat. A night that was supposed to be fun outing for our family. When we moved the guy said “Now we can actually see…” I did deep holy moly breaths and said a prayer that God would give me a heart of love. 

The obnoxiousness continued. 

It was so obnoxious my husband left. He couldn’t handle the screaming. He’d worked 20 hours the day before and they were just so rude. But they were the kind of people who think they aren’t. So later after he’d left, I moved next to my other boys, and the big boys went on a hot dog run and came back to ask me a question and they told them to sit down and  I told the boys, “you are fine.” I repeated myself as they interrupted me,  because I was done with the rudeness, the absolute inconsideration, and I don’t care if they think the rules don’t apply to them. 

I had already fought a lot of my own inner battles that day, it had been a low self esteem day, when Dyp works a lot- I work a lot,  and I was just done. I spent most of the game trying to be the bigger person and probably losing horribly. I had had it.

I was ready to tell them exactly what I thought after the game, my ears still ringing from their screaming, my pointed direct verbiage and my Kristin with the B all ready and they slipped away. 

And it probably was for the better, because as fired up as I was it gave me a lot of time to pray and vent…and suddenly all these different coaches, fans, and parents all came to mind. And I felt sad for them. Because they are losing. 

You see a lot about baseball can be applied to ALL of life. 

When you scream at kids, because they didn’t throw to the right person, because they didn’t move quickly enough, and you tell them they lost the inning… It is not about baseball anymore. It is not about fun or learning. It is just belittling and bringing shame on the shoulders of a 10 year old. Teachable moments never should include shaming. And we only get so many teachable moments before they harden and tune us out. Don’t let the ones we leave with them be filled with that. 

Umpires are either volunteers or are paid very little(at the kid level). Typically they know baseball and they love the game. They sometimes make really bad calls. They could be having a bad day. They sometimes though have a closer view than we do. Because they are human, they will make errors. Yelling and screaming, stomping only shows everyone around you that you are a spoiled baby. Life isn’t fair, baseball isn’t always either. In fact I hate that they now do play backs of ump calls in the majors. It takes some of the unpredictability out of baseball. 

News Flash:  You are not the only fan. You are just one fan. If you scream louder you won’t change the outcome of the game. Keeping stats doesn’t make you a better fan. Look around, it’s not just about the field- it’s about the experience. And those players…many are still boys.That Pitcher you screamed at, he’s still got that kid in him who is trying to live his dream. He may get to play in the majors someday, but this might be his only time on this mound. 

It is a game. Someone always wins. Someone always loses. And at the end, the stands clear out and are soon empty but the lights- those lights illuminate the field. A field that boys, my sons age dream about at night. They sleep and dream baseball…because it can be magical and beautiful. And that’s what they love. But even they know it’s just a game. 

So when I watch a game at no matter what level I see the boy. I yell for them, but I also clap for the other team because they are someone’s sons. And I remember that it was never about stats. My favorite fans are the ones who dance and don’t scream. My favorite teams are the teams who show heart. 

I like to say there are two seasons in my house…winter and baseball.  But like life they aren’t the only things. I am in a season of living constantly. It’s just a game. Which is why after a particular convicting prayer time today I’m praying for those coaches, parents and fans that they can see dreams over stats, living over a winning streak. 

Dreams are made as another ball flies into the neighbors yard, as my boys make plays, as they laugh and keep score. They just play.