Mom and Dad,
I appreciate you signing me up to play with other kids my age in baseball/softball this summer. I’ve had a good time. I hope you have too. Please remember these things as we collectively near the final out this season:
1. I don’t intentionally strike out. Even when I watch a called third strike go straight down the middle. I know you want me to hit. I hear your cheers when I make contact as well as your grunts of disappointment when I don’t. I prefer the former noise over the latter.
2. It pains me more than it pains you when I make a fielding error. You and I both know I can make a perfect play nine times out of 10, but there will always be that tenth time when I let you, myself, and my teammates down. I love it more than anything when you, my teammates and my coaches forgive me for being imperfect.
3. The game is fun to play. Even more fun to me (at my tender age) is spitting out seeds, chomping on Big League Chew gum, belting out cheers, and laughing with my friends. You need to understand where my priorities lie.
4. I appreciate when you stick up for me or my teammates when the umpire makes a bad call. But please remember that the umpire (just like my coach) is an authority figure and I will model your behavior. Think twice about how you give constructive criticism.
5. There’s not a better feeling in the world than me seeing you smile with pride during and after my performance on the field, regardless of the outcome of the game. There is not a worse feeling than you telling me all the things I could do better in the car ride home.
6. I freakin’ LOVE goofing off! I try to pay attention. I honestly do.
7. Baseball/softball is a long game and requires a lot of mental toughness. Sometimes I can’t concentrate as hard as I should on where I should throw the ball or which pitches I should swing at in certain situations. You are much older and wiser than I am.
8. This game is just one small piece of my life. Being an athlete is just one tiny piece of what makes up my total package.
9. I am learning lessons right now that extend way beyond this stage of my life. You can’t always win. Sometimes things don’t go your way. It feels as good, if not better, to see your friend succeed as it does to personally succeed. A true team doesn’t always have the best athletes, but they somehow find a way to win together.
10. I know you want nothing but the best for me. The best for me is not always measured in batting averages, ERAs, vertical leaps, or agility times. The best for me is knowing that you have my back and love me unconditionally.
Heidi Woodard is married with three children. Read her Thursdays on momaha.com