When we get together to have our five family gatherings, the ones we have known since our kids were all in preschool together, the talk eventually turns to sports. Not the pro game, or even the college teams, but the organized gatherings of kids who play together, and who have since about the time they all got out of preschool: a little soccer, but mostly baseball. My wife and I drift away at these moments, since our son is not a team sports guy.
Way back when he was five, at his first soccer practice, he was set to make his first practice header. Unfortunately, his concentration slipped to his mother who was standing nearby, and the ball bounced off his newly bloodied nose. My wife lost her chance to be a soccer mom at that moment.
A couple of years later, he tried his hand at T-ball. He was the biggest kid on the team, and while he managed to impress his coaches and teammates with his speed, he never quite got comfortable getting in front of a ball that was speeding toward his nose or any other part of his body. There was no Little League in his future.
His buddies, meanwhile, have had varied degrees of success in their team sports endeavors, and while there has rarely been much jealousy or envy, it's always been a point of demarcation between him and his friends. And his friends parents and us. We know we have to work our schedules around baseball tryouts and soccer tournaments if we want all his friends to be there. We know that we will endure a certain amount of discussion about which coaches are doing a good job and which shouldn't be asked back next year in spite of our lack of participation. We nod and smile. We understand that the Pelicans should have won but the new rules this year have made it more difficult for all the kids to compete in the way that they have become accustomed. Or something like that. We would care more if our son was part of a team, but he isn't.
And that's okay, because if we learned anything this past weekend when we all went away to a cabin in the mountains, our so has some mad hide and seek skills. If anybody's putting together a team, give us a call. We'll let you know if he's available.