There are moments in a sports parent’s life that will never be forgotten and will always hold importance. One of those moments for me was when my 4th-grade son, now 28, struck out three times in a little league playoff game.
Throughout the game I sat calmly in the stands and watched him pitch competently yet fail to have any success at the plate.
Each time he would slump back to the dugout as the tears kept building, and finally erupting after the third time at bat. It’s rough to strike out three times in one game, but he took the mound after drying his tears and kept his head in the game.
I watched nervously and then in utter amazement as he proceeded to strike out the next three players. His team came up for their final offensive opportunity at the bottom of the last inning. There were two outs and two players on base, and then…. My son was up for the fourth time.
Another pitch came his way and in a Disney movie-like play, he took his last swing and hit the ball over the outfielder’s heads, with a walk-off winning hit.
Victory! Game over. Tears forgotten.
At least they were forgotten by him – I will never forget them. That day taught me in a very vivid way that my child is stronger than I think and is fully able to work through certain tough times without me trying to insert myself.
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Of course, there are times when parents need to be there for comfort and support, but sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is to love from a distance. As a parent, you have to assess the situation and ask yourself what your child needs to learn and how you can help them learn it.
My son learned two lessons that day – that he was stronger than he realized and that you never give up, even after striking out three times in one game. Every lesson is a building block for many more setbacks and failures to come. Today my son is a strong young man and I know that if he’d not faced those types of building-block experiences, he would not be who he is now.