This is a very belated post for my son Josh. He started playing Little League in 1st grade. This was his last year to play since he would be too old next year. He loves playing baseball and when they draft the teams he always hopes for a good quality coach and a few friends on the team. He was happy to get both this year on his Sun Devils team.
Josh is a lover of all sports and plays on a variety of teams. Last year he was on 8 teams for baseball, basketball, flag football, tackle football, cross country, track (lots of driving on my part). He had been having a great season with a high batting average, lots of hits and an amazing 39 runs scored for his team in 24 games.
The playoff games are double elimination and his Sun Devil team had lost a game early into the playoffs (there was some controversy but Sun Devils held their heads high and kept playing great baseball). I recall the Saturday night Katherine had her gymnastics banquet and they were matched against a strong team. If they lost they would be out of the playoffs. I wished him good luck and told him I knew they would win since mom just had to see his last game. In extra innings with a tied scored a teammate hit a grand slam!!! They would continue on to Monday’s game.
Keep winning you get to keep playing and this took them all the way to Wednesday night. They would need a double-header and 2 wins to take the championship title. The issue with so many games is that you run out of pitchers (kids are capped out with pitch count rules). Over the weekend we could see the writing on the wall and realized Josh just might be called on to pitch. He is always willing to play any position needed to help his team but has not pitched in 2 years. I knew that beyond the skill needed there is a big mental aspect to pitching (just like the marathon). I started reading him passages from my favorite book Mind Gym. We discussed
-take one pitch at a time, wipe the slate clean and pitch the next one
-listen to the cues from your coach
-no pressure no expectation (just try your best)
-give luck a chance to happen
-be open to the possibility of greatness
-be in the zone, block out all external noise and distractions
Quoting Mind Gym ” Many people who play sports long enough or work at their craft hard enough experience those magical moments where their training and trust in themselves come together in perfect harmony. Their performance flows smoothly, effortlessly, and almost unconsciously. Sometimes these special moments happen as if by grace”. The ironic thing is that could not really tell Josh to trust his training since he had been practicing pitching for a couple of days.
First the Sun Devils had to win game 1 Wed. It was tied in the 6th inning. Josh did what he does best GETS ON BASE. His teammates that follow in the batting order give him the opportunity to score. This video I took that night shows it all. Sean hits a great hit, most players would get 2 bases on it but Josh does his other amazing talent RUN FAST. He takes it all the way home to score the tieing run! The boys in the dugout go crazy! Next player up has a great hit and they are off to the final game with hopes of a Championship Title.
Video we titled “one out rally” Josh has amazing run after Sean’s awesome hit.
Us moms swing into action feeding the kids sandwiches (Udi’s gluten free for Josh) watermelon, drinks to get them ready. Coach Gordy takes Josh over to warm him up for pitching. I am trying not to be nervous and encourage him. His team was out on the field warming up and Josh was in the dugout getting in the zone with a big grin on his face. I shouted a couple of words of encouragement telling him “You got this, one pitch at a time, trust your stuff”. I am sure the other team was thinking “who the heck is this kid pitching??”
Josh was amazing! He did exactly what I had told him, listening to the coach, one pitch at a time, be in the zone. His teammates did a fabulous job fielding the hits and getting the kids out. The boys were encouraging Josh and he was soaking it in. I think he only walked 2 boys the whole game. Josh continued his hitting streak and got on base 7 for 7 times he was up to bat in both games. In between innings they had him slip on a long sleeve shirt to keep his arm warmed up (which I think they had to explain to him). I think he floated on air that whole game. In the last inning one of his teammates struck out and was having some tears in the dugout, Josh walked over gave him some words of encouragement to cheer him up. I always loves when he does that! The games are usually 6 innings but the Sun Devils shut them down by leading by 10 runs in the 4th inning. Josh ended up being the only pitchers for the Sun Devils that night. The team was ecstatic (did I mention we played this same team last year in the playoffs but results were not the same). Sweet Victory. We finally made it home at almost 1030pm even allowed him a little Mind Craft since we knew he could not get to sleep.
The next day I reminded him how special that night was and to soak it in, be proud of his accomplishments! When it was all on the line he soared above any expectation anyone had for him and played a crucial role in helping his team to win the championship. I said Josh “That was your white moment, they don’t happen often so cherish it”.
One of my favorite hits Josh had, sorry a bit shaky at beginning trying to step over all the kids lined up on the ground.
Have you had some white moments while competing? Share your story!!