Friday, April 02, 2010

My past has caught up with me

This is from April 2008, but every word of it is still true today. ..except the part about Havoc not being able to read

I've been expecting this moment for years now. Ever since I was at my 13 week nuchal screen and my OB said "You want to know the sex?" and told me it was a boy, I have known it was coming & I have been dreading it.

I drove past a sign today that said "Cal Ripkin Baseball sign ups. Ages 5-12. Parks & Rec Dept". Havoc is 5.


Saying "I hate little league baseball" does not begin to convey how I feel about little league baseball. I carry around a grudge the size of Wrigley Field toward little league baseball. It ruined my childhood, or at least the summers anyway. I *resent* little league baseball. Resent it with all the feeling a 10 year old who has just been told AGAIN that she can't have a party on her birthday because her brother has a game that day, can feel. Little league baseball was a blight on my life for a decade, from the time I was 8 until I left home at 18. It took priority over everything and I hated it. I still loathe & despise it. I realize that more than 20 years have passed since then & that I ought to be over it by now. But I am not and I have been very afraid of the day my son comes to me and says "Mom, my friends are going to play baseball & I want to too!"

I can't say no to him if he asks. I can't say 'sorry kid, mom has issues, no baseball for you.' because that really isn't fair to him. I can't let my problems keep him from trying something he might really enjoy. Oh but I want to. I really do not want to spend the next decade or so of my life at the mercy of baseball practice & baseball games. Not being able to plan a vacation this week or that because of playoffs. Having to say "Nope, can't do it then" over and over and over because of something I hate & resent doing. And I would have to say no to other activities. That's my real problem with it. I absolutely detest baseball (and really, most organized sports) because I understand that I am making a commitment by joining. I am committing to being there at every practice & every game & yes, that does mean the birthday party might have to be moved a couple days if there is a game that day. That is the meaning of commitment. You aren't just joining to play when it is convenient to you. I'm not ready to begin that obligation yet. Then there is the sheer boredom I find in the game itself. Oh my god baseball is boring! And you have to sit there in the hot sun on the folding chair you hopefully remembered to bring, drinking the fast warming water you also hopefully remembered to bring(there are no shaded fields with benches around here). And you can't read, you are ignoring the kids if you do that. Its rude. I can't get out of it with carpooling because I don't have a minivan or SUV & only have room for my own 2 kids in the back seat. I am doomed to being at each and every single practice & game. I'm not ready to face that. I may never be ready, but sooner or later I will have to because sooner or later the boys will want to. I'm hoping for later.

Right now I am in my avoidance phase of this issue. I've run through denial (I did not just see that sign) and ranting (See 2 paragraphs up) and blowing things out of proportion (Previous paragraph) and am now hoping to avoid the issue by not mentioning it. Havoc can't read & he has never expressed any interest in playing baseball (or soccer or anything else). I'm not sure if any of his classmates are signing up because I haven't spoken to any of their parents about it yet. I'm thinking they would mention it or their son would to mine & Havoc would then ask to play too. I'm not preventing him from playing, I'm just not helping him....

I realize that I am being childish, selfish & petty about this but really, if the child himself is not asking about it am I really doing a bad thing by not volunteering the information? I know I am just putting off the inevitable. If not baseball, then soccer, or basketball or god help me football. When the time comes I will accede to his request with grace & as much patience as I can muster. I will go to the games & the practices & I will not through my words or actions show just how very unhappy this might be making me. I might not express wild delight but I will not show despair either. If they enjoy it and they genuinely want to do it then I will support it. Hell, I might even come to like it myself. But I see no point in volunteering for my own potential martyrdom. I am not going to ask Havoc if he wants to play baseball this summer. But if he comes home saying "David says he's playing baseball this summer! Can I play too?" then I will suck it up and deal.


SciFi Dad said...

Same thing up here with hockey in the winters: it swallows weekends whole, and if you're into tournaments and travel teams you're looking at September to April, minimum. Let's not even talk about 5am weekday practices. I've got the same concerns, selfishly not because of childhood trauma (I was kicked out of house league at 8 for putting a kid on a stretcher - true story) but because I can't imagine sacrificing that much time.

LizzieMade said...

Oohhh... waves of sympathy! I didn't have a sport-mad brother, luckily for me, and money prevented either me or my sister having hobbies that were too pricey. She rode ponies, I did ballet classes and that was that.
However, I have a son, who did join the school football club on Saturday mornings. His dad signed up to help coach and all term-time Saturdays were busy with football - afternoons with recovery. He now goes to a club on Saturdays, which offers them a choice of 6-week courses each term, with an all-day workshop on the 7th week. So 7 weeks in each school term are dominated by Frontiers Club. We have to plan weekends away round the club, also his increasing homework burden.

But you know what? I don't mind. I thought I would - especially when the football started. Yet I found I actually rather enjoyed standing beside the pitch in the cold, watching a "herd of cats" swarming round a small white & black object, up & down the pitch (D. called the 1st-year football "herding cats" because they had no sense of team play and just ran about after the ball, kicking indiscriminately whenever they though they might be near the ball!). I didn't go to matches if it was too cold (asthma), but didn't mind standing around nearly as much as I thought I would.
Mind you, it never got particularly serious. J. is not a team-sport kid, nor is he very athletic. He enjoyed football practice and having a go at matches, but he never made the first team and didn't really care about that. He gave up before he started middle school, then moved on to his other club, where I have to drop him off and pick him up - the rest is up to him and his tutors.

It is a bit intrusive at times, but J. gets so much out of it that I find myself more grateful than irritated by having to plan around the club days.

Homework is far more intrusive than Frontiers Club. I do mind that - it seems very unnecessary to pile them up with homework from a young age. My DH rarely brings work home with him - why do the kids have so much, when they work hard in school all day long? And why do they have so many projects in the school "holidays", when they should be resting and recuperating for the next term?

Why do we work them so hard in their growning years? They need to learn to work hard, but surely they also need some time with their families, to learn about family life, love, sharing, having fun - all the really important things if they will be happy in their future lives?

Rinda said...

Oh, Stacey, I hope he asks and that you say yes and that it turns into a wonderful experience. I knew nothing much about soccer (or trains) before DS was born, but when he decided that was his obsession, we went along with it, and it has been a wonderful ride. It kindof reminds me of the time before I decided I wanted to have kids telling (an older) coworker that I didn't want to take time away from being a couple to pay attention to someone else. She laughed and said "your husband will only love you more, and you will have more time together - just in a different way." She was right. And I feel the same way about my kid and sports.
DS and I have shared so many happy times together and have created so many special memories around soccer, baseball and basketball. You are so obviously a great mom and love your kids like crazy. I'm sure you would have a great time with him in LL baseball or any other sport.
And IMHO, there's absolutely nothing wrong with reading a book, knitting, or playing iphone scrabble during the game. Nor is there anything wrong with dropping the kid off at practice or missing one of his games b/c your daughter is having a party that day.
Finally, you must have gritted your teeth through all the baseball pix and posts on my blog! LOL!