Complete Game Shutout!

Can a teenager be too busy?  This has been my ongoing battle in my brain lately.  I’m a hardcore parent, and I believe that children should be nudged to help with household chores, be kept on a schedule, have limited screen time and sports or athletics of some sort should be a daily routine.  I feel laziness is a learned habit, and I don’t want to raise lazy children, but some days I think my plan may backfire on me and my children are too busy.

I have two very active and talented children.  They are both elite athletes in their sports of choice, but my son had the chance this summer to play at a provincial level for two of his favorite sports.  We were thrilled with this opportunity, but at the same time we didn’t know if he could give 100% to both sports, but we agreed to let him try.

This one weekend he was scheduled to play the both sports and planned to juggle them both.  Luckily we were in the same city which made his juggling act obtainable.

This particular Saturday, he woke up early, and hit the gym to play for his province in basketball.  Immediately following this game, we popped his sweaty, exhausted body in the vehicle and drove about 20 minutes to his next game of the day.  Baseball this time.  He was sent out to pitch and to his dismay he pitched the worst game of his life.  My heart broke for him, but at the same time my positive parenting kicked in.  Failure is always a teachable moment, and I love these days in my children’s lives because failure is a part of every day life and I want my children to have strategies on how to deal with failure for their future as adults.

As we drove back to the basketball courts, I had a devastated teen in my truck but I gently reminded him on how he always deals with a poor performance in any area of his life; sports, education, etc.  He said honestly, “I get upset for about 45 minutes”, which is exactly what happens.

Then I asked, “Then what?”

“Then I throw up”, was his next honest answer and how true that is.  For some reason it is his way of stress relief.  An inheritance trait from my father, and he has been doing this since he was a toddler, but he is slowly growing out of this, with much work on coping strategies again.

I probed again, “Then what?”

He muttered under his breath, “Then I work hard again and better myself.”

That was the exact response that I wanted him to acknowledge.  He knew in his heart that this was the kick in the butt he needed to become a better baseball player.

As we hustled back to the basketball court for his next provincial game, his focus started to shift from the baseball field to the basketball court, but I knew that we would see a change in him when it came to baseball, because that is how my son works.

Sure enough, a week later he was in a tournament, and with the help of his great teammates, this kid pitched a complete game shutout, only throwing 73 pitches in seven innings and had seven strike-outs.  That was what I knew he would do from the lesson learned on the pitcher’s mound the week before.

We are all going to pitch some bad innings in life.  We are going to experience many ups and downs, it is what you do with your bad pitches that determines the outcome of your game in life.  Romans 5:3-5 is one of my favorite verses, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

As horrible as it might sound, rejoicing in our sufferings is a part of life.  We have to give thanks for the good and bad times, because it is the bad times that build our character and give us our life lessons that we can learn from and make us stronger.  As horrible as it may be to bear at the time, once you make it through a bad game and push forward, you will come out a stronger player than you ever were before.

Give thanks today for your hard times on the pitcher’s mound, and remember, your complete game shut-out is just around the corner too.  Just hang in there, and fix what needs to be fixed!