The Little Outfielder that Could

balls

Catch me if you can…

        The 12 year old batter stands at the batter’s box… confident, ready to swing his bat. And when he did, he hit the ball hard. The ball went high and far. By the looks of it, the ball would drop at the space right between centerfield and leftfield. The batter started to run, hoping he had hit a double at the very least.

      The small 10 year old centerfielder ran as fast as he could to get to the ball before it reaches the ground. He dove – and caught the ball. ‘OUT!’ cried the umpire.

        The parents clapped, cheered, went into a frenzy.

        Several plays later, another big boy stood at the batter’s box, swung his bat perfectly, allowing it to hit the ball and send it flying once again to the outfield.

        The same centerfielder took his time, tracked the ball like a pro, then ran to the right spot where the ball was going to fall. OUT! 3rd out! The inning ends.

        As the parents were cheering and exchanging high-fives, I took a glimpse of the boy’s father who was beaming with pride. When he saw me looking at him, he said quietly, “He remembers what you told him. He listened to you…”

About a month before that international tournament, I went to watch this team of 10 year olds play in the local setting. It was the first tournament they played in as a team. Come to think of it, it was their first time to seriously play together. At that time, the coaches were still gauging which position suits each player best. 

During one of the games, I noticed this player – their centerfielder – looking a bit lost. I think distracted is a better word. Since there was no action in the outfield at that time – meaning no ball was going to him, I could see him fidgety and his attention was wandering elsewhere. At some point he seemed to be watching the ongoing game on the other field. He looked bored out of his wits.

After the game, as the boy and his dad were saying goodbye to the team and to me, I heard the boy say to his dad, “I don’t like being an outfielder.” I saw the look of boredom on his young face. In his mind, he was probably thinking being a pitcher was way cooler. Or, catchers control the game. The action was almost always in the infield. But the outfield is far… And for the most part of the game, nothing happened in the outfield. He probably felt he barely contributed anything.

I couldn’t help myself so I went up to the boy and said, “You know, my son used to play baseball. He was also an outfielder like you. And you know what, he was one of the best – if not, the best outfielder in his age group. He was really good!” The little boy looked at me expectantly, so I continued, “You know, when you are playing against really good players… the ones who can hit hard… you know the balls that go really high and really far?well, the team needs a good outfielder for that. Someone who can catch a really high fly ball or block a line drive. And when you play in international tournaments, you will get a lot of those. You will face a lot of big batters. So your team relies on you to get that out… You’ll see.”

The boy smiled at me shyly. I added, “So don’t think your position is not important. Be the best outfielder you can be.” I ended with, ”I’ll introduce you to my son when he’s around. He can tell you stories.”

I am not a coach. Okay, I admit I sometimes get too involved in the games that I seem to coach from the bleachers. Yet that afternoon, I wasn’t talking to the boy as a pseudo-coach. I was talking to him as a parent.

Early on my husband and I have ingrained in our own son the value of hard work and diligence. We don’t expect him to be perfect, but we expect him to give his best all the time. Whether in his academics or in sports, we trained him to give his 100% because not doing so will mean shortchanging himself.

We also taught our son the value of respect. Respect for authority and respect for whatever position given him. When my son started playing baseball at age 8, for the most part of his first season, he was the “wanderer.” He was the 10th player on the field. He was placed somewhere between the centerfielder and the second baseman. We told him, “If you’re going to be a wanderer, be the best wanderer there is!” He took that to heart and true to form, he never lost focus and fielded whatever ball came his way.

When my son started training as an outfielder, his training was pretty intense. I remember the first time I watched him train this way – he was 12 years old then. My husband and another coach will take turns batting really high fly balls to the outfield. My son learned how to track the ball so he’d know where to position himself for an easy catch. Other times he would need to dive to get to the ball. I was really scared as I watched him darting left and right across the wide field.

More than being scared, I was impressed, too. It was just practice but my son showed determination and tenacity. Imagine how he performs during actual games.

To some people, his position was “just” outfielder. He was no star player. But he gave his 100% all the time. His teammates knew they can count on him when the need arises.  He will catch that fly ball. He will block that hot line drive to outfield. He will do what he is trained to do, just the way he trained for it. He will get that out.

From zero to hero…

To this day, my son faces whatever situation, game or challenge that he is up against, with the same determination, hard work and grit. Mediocrity is never an option.

In life, we don’t always readily get that “position” that we want. Most of the time, we have to work hard to achieve it. We either have to start somewhere – or we are given something different from what we aspire for.  I personally believe that you can be a star, regardless of what position you hold. What you make of yourself is more important.

What matters most is that you do what is expected of you, you give value to what you can do, and you give your best, every single time. Your time to shine is bound to come.

        After the game, centerfielder came up to me with a big smile on his face. Their team may have lost the game, but he had two winning moments. That was more than enough.

        I smiled back, letting him know that I was glad I was there to witness it, and that I couldn’t have been more proud.

beginner

Note to self! 

********

photos via personal FB account and google images

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November to remember

It’s two days ’til December… Less than a month ’til Christmas. This morning, I woke up to this: 

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Saddest Christmas tree ever 😦

And I couldn’t help but feel bad. 

I have always loved the Christmas season. I love the festive atmosphere. I love looking at the Christmas decors, watching the lights, and listening to Christmas carols. And yes, I love going Christmas shopping. I normally finalize my list sometime late October because I like doing my Christmas shopping early. By mid-November, I’m done setting up the Christmas tree and lights.

I am a gift giver. I relish the whole process — from making the list, to buying and wrapping gifts… I even like putting them under the Christmas tree (that I lovingly set up and decorated). This entire practice gives me a certain high.  

At nights before I sleep, I spend some time getting lost in the Christmas lights. Simply watching them relaxes me. I may go to bed exhausted from the day’s activities, but there’s always a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  I call this my Christmas feeling.

Things have been quite different this year, though. It’s almost December and our tree isn’t up yet. No Christmas decors… no Christmas lights outside. In fact, there are even several busted regular bulbs inside the house that I have yet to change.

Yup, I have been neglecting quite a number of things around the house lately. I don’t know if this has something to do with our ’empty nesting.’ Since we no longer have a little child in the house  who will appreciate the decors and the lights (as much as I do), well, it suddenly doesn’t anymore feel as exciting to decorate. Somehow it is different when you have someone — other than yourself — who admires, appreciates, and gawks at that Christmas tree you have painstakingly set up for more than half a day.

So, right now, all we have is a bare tree. No lights. No gifts. No warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling.  Bah-humbug.

So what kept me busy this whole month of November? Let me backtrack a bit.

Okay, last week I was in Singapore. Again (Yey, Singapore!). You see, our Baseball Club sent two teams to play in a Thanksgiving Tournament. My husband was the head of delegation, and we pretty much spent a big part of November preparing for the trip. But unlike those other tournaments where I was on top of the travel coordination, this time we had parent leads who took care of most of the travel details. I only assisted where I was needed, giving them tips and suggestions on certain matters. And since I had no son playing in the said tournament, basically, I was just a tag along.

For a split-second I asked myself if I should still go with the team, knowing full well that I will be paying for my own expenses. Besides, weren’t we in Singapore just a month ago for the Parents’ Weekend? (Remember the previous blog?) And didn’t we extend that last time because of my son’s injury? (Remember the blog before the previous one?)

So I asked myself, is it still practical? Should I go or should I just stay home, fix my house, prepare for December, shop for Christmas?

I believe that home is where the heart is. And the heart is where the family is. My husband will be in Singapore. My son IS in Singapore. They are my home. Of course, I had to go to Singapore, as well. 

And yes, there’s also Sephora in Singapore. But that’s beside the point. 🙂

Snapshots from the Week that Was…

You’d think that since we were in Singapore, my husband and I will be able to spend a lot of time with our unico, right? Uhm, wrong! He’s in college… and the term’s about to end… he had a lot of school work to finish, papers to submit. So after seeing him and having dinner with him on the night that we arrived, well, we basically did not see even his shadow for the next several days.

Since the main reason for the trip was the baseball tournament, our days were filled with baseball games… and moments.

2

The weather was not always good… 😦

We brought two teams composed of boys mostly aged 9-10 and a couple of 11 and 12 year olds. One team played in the 10u age group, while the other played up and joined the 12u group.

Unfortunately for the 10u team, all of their games started at 8am. Since they needed to be on the field an hour before for warm-up, it meant waking up and getting ready really early and being in the bus by 6am. 

3

Daybreak 

On the morning that I rode the bus with the two teams at 6am, I asked myself — Why do I still do this? I don’t have a son playing in this tournament… Why wake up early? Why even spend the day on the field?

And then I see the boys.

4

Habagat represent!

I see the smiles on their faces. I see their excitement. 

I see their determination and grit.

8.1

I see their courage in the face of bigger, stronger boys. I also see their eagerness and willingness to learn, to get better.

8

Hi, Callum! Habagat 2015 

I get to experience baseball moments, however small or grand, in and out of the field. I  also get to see relationships — friendships– being formed.

5

Two teams, One Habagat.

Plus, I get to meet new people, form new friendships of my own.

Incidentally, in all my 7 years of being part of the Club, I do think that this is one of the coolest bunch of parents that I have spent tournament days with. 

These parents cheered like crazy and they supported each player, not just their own sons. And you know what, the players responded. The boys appreciated being cheered on.  The parents gave whatever support they can, the way they knew how. 

What’s commendable, too, was the fact that these parents knew their boundaries and did not overstep them. They let the coaches coach and the players play. Talk about respect.

Going back to my question on why I still do this… Perhaps I still get myself involved in the sport because as I watch the boys grow and learn, I also grow and learn with them.

So that was basically how the week went. Daily baseball games, a little shopping on the side (with a lot of walking)… 

Lots of stories, fun and laughter with fellow parents. Lots of selfies, too.

On our last day, well, we got to spend it with the most important person in Singapore (at least in my book)…

This is home.

So, all that kept me busy this November.

Maybe by the time I get to post this seemingly neverending blog, well, December will be just a day away.  I think I am now ready to get that warm, fuzzy feeling back.  

I will set up our Christmas tree tomorrow, lights and all.

😉 

*********

This blog was written 28th of Nov. 2017. Photos are mostly mine.

Sadly, I’m no Wonder Woman…

It was a cool, Maundy Thursday evening. My mom, dad, husband, my mother-in-law, and I decided to stay and chat outside to enjoy the night breeze.

We were on the street, actually. My mom, dad and I were leaning against the front of our car which was parked right outside the gate of the house. The hubby and his mom were standing several meters away, at the corner of the street, nearer the main road.

We live in a gated village and I can say that the place is relatively safe.  On any given night you will see residents walking their dogs, or maybe they are jogging or brisk walking. People who know each other wave and exchange pleasantries.

That Thursday night, we saw a good friend of my mom’s walking with his daughter. They said hello as they passed by. And then we saw two ladies walking their dog. We all smiled at each other as they passed. 

It is a quiet, friendly community. 

And then the commotion.

We saw two teenagers running on the main road – some 20 meters away from where we were standing. We saw them run past the hubby and his mom.  Then we heard voices from where the teenaged boys came from, shouting what sounded like, “Stop them!” and “Snatchers!”

Then another group of men ran past, obviously running after the boys.

From the corner of the street where he was standing, the hubby saw the group catch up with one of the boys. Then he saw them punching and kicking the boy who, at this time, was already down on the ground.

It was at this point when the hubby decided to intervene. When I say intervene, I meant he decided to walk towards the group to, well basically, stop the fight – or keep the guys from killing the teenager with their blows.

So hubby went to the scene of the action. Followed by my dad. Then my mother-in-law!!!

My mom and I called out to the three of them, telling them NOT to get involved… But all three  pretty much ignored us.

Panicked, and thinking I should do something to help, I said out loud, “I’ll call the guards!”

So I turned towards the house in a rush, took a step…

…and tripped…

I took several more uncontrolled steps… then felt myself falling…

I knew I was going to fall hard. Not necessarily fast, but hard.

 

falling

Me.

 

Nah, that picture is too cute. I believe I looked more like this:

A woman falling down face first

Me. Take two.

Then I heard my mom screaming my name.

Several thoughts ran in my head as I was about to fall…

  • I need to find my footing. I can do this. Nope, I don’t think I can.
  • I shouldn’t have teased my sister about her knee injury!
  • I need to break the fall. I’ll try to land gently on my knees. Nope, didn’t work… I just heard my knees hit the ground with a loud thud.
  • I HAVE to protect my face!!! I can’t let it hit the ground…

And as I was sprawled face down on the ground…

  • Great, now my palms are all bruised, as well.
  • Oh gosh, the dogs are pulling at the shirt that I am holding!

Then I heard my mom call out my name again with a panicked, “What happened to you???!!”

She tried to help me up but I had to take a minute because I was still shaken up from the fall – and my whole body was pretty sore. Plus my knees were hurting so I couldn’t stand.

And then my mom and I started laughing at how silly I must have looked. I couldn’t cry, so we just laughed harder.

If I were playing baseball, it’s like diving into home…

dive into home, Pete Rose

Safe!!!

I would have scored a run, too.

❤ ❤

bruised knees

battered & bruised

My mom and I went back inside the house. I was able to call up the guardhouse – as originally planned.  Then she suggested that I put some ice on my knees after I washed them clean.

 

I guess it’s true that not all casualties are on the battlefield. Some are just there on the sidelines, minding their own business…

❤ ❤

In case you’d like to know how the commotion ended, well apparently, the boys were not snatchers or anything like that. It was an online relationship gone awry between the boy and the teenage daughter of the man running after him.

Shades of Romeo and Juliet.

We didn’t really find out the whole story since my hero hubby, his mom and my dad went back inside our house as soon as the guards arrived. Much to their amazement, I was the one with scrapes and bruises.

Unfortunately, in the street brawl between this Montague and Capulet, I was the collateral damage

❤ ❤

Update on my injuries: No need for x-ray nor immobilizer. I can walk, but it still hurts a little when I bend the knees or straighten the leg.

As of this writing, both knees are still black and blue, with small bruises and scrapes. Palms just have small scrapes.

Pride and dignity still bruised, as well. 

Wonder Woman would have saved the day… or at least come out of it unscathed. Oh well… 😦 

 ❤ 

photo credits: Cartoon images via Google clip arts and cartoons; Pete Rose dive to home plate via Google and Getty Images; photo of my bruised knees taken by my son for remembrance, he said. 😉 

The Saturday that was

heat glamour

Fantasy.

Saturday afternoon

So here I am, at 2:00 in the afternoon, standing in the middle of a field, basking under the summer sun… watching a baseball game.

It was a hot day. Scorching hot.  The ground was dry. So very dry. Whenever the wind blows, dust was sure to go with it.

I could feel the dust on my face, covering the layers of sunblock that I put several hours before.

I looked at my feet.  My black sandals have already turned brown.  I could feel my feet burning. Why-oh-why didn’t I wear rubber shoes instead??

“Why am I  here??”  I asked myself for the umpteenth time. 

I have been on the field since 8 o’clock this morning. This is already the fourth baseball game that I have watched and cheered for today.

The team is losing.  It’s losing pretty badly.

Three teams. Four games.  Three losses so far.  It has been a tough, not to mention, extremely hot day.  And my teams are losing.

My son isn’t even playing with any of the teams.  So, why am I even here???

heat

Reality.

***

Truth be told, I miss watching my son play baseball.  

Baseball has been his sport since he was 8 years old. He used to play golf before that, but the moment my husband introduced him to the sport of baseball — the moment he realized that he would gain more friends there, he kissed his (expensive) golf clubs, as well as his Jungolf championship dreams, goodbye.  There was no turning back.

And so for about 7 years, our weekends were filled with baseball games.  He has joined local tournaments, he has played in Asia Pacific Championships here and abroad, he has played with and against some of the very best youth baseball players from all over the region.

I have watched and cheered under the scorching heat, as well as in the pouring rain. I have experienced with him and his teammates the joys of victory, as well as the pain and disappointment that come with losing. I have gained new friends… I have made a number of enemies, too.   

Baseball is filled with moments, both good and bad. 

When my son decided to “semi-retire” from the sport… When he decided to pursue other interests (like singing, performing and yes, studying some more)… well, baseball pretty much took a back seat. 

I was in a way thankful that he decided to pursue other things. I mean, I do loathe staying under the sun for a long time.  And waking up at such ungodly hours to watch early morning games can sometimes drive one nuts — especially on a Sunday when you’d rather sleep in until noon. 

But honestly, I do miss watching him play.  I miss the thrill. I miss the excitement. Though some games can be very stressful, well, I sometimes miss the stress, too! (Sometimes I cheer like a maniac that my husband gives me dagger looks.)

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine myself being so involved in a sport. For some reason, baseball got to me. 

The universe has a sense of humor.

***

Last Saturday, three teams from our baseball club competed in a tournament. Three sets of players from three different divisions. The boys whom I watched training all summer long were given the chance to play against other teams.

Nope, they didn’t win all the games. In fact, they lost quite a number of times. Not one of the three teams brought home a medal nor a trophy.  The old me would have been disheartened and heartbroken.  No one likes losing.  

But after being a witness to all those games that my son has played… I have come to realize and accept that the players learn from both winning and losing.  

Losing isn’t always bad. Sometimes you have to lose so you’ll know what needs to be worked on. Sometimes you lose not because you are not good, but maybe because the other team prepared as hard as you did — or even harder.

But when you lose, lose with grace. Unfortunately, this is something that a lot of people, especially the adults, forget. 

Besides, baseball is a game of moments.  Each player somewhere, somehow gets to experience a moment… a moment that is his to learn from, his to remember and to savor. His moment on the field.

A winning catch. A double play. A home run. A successful slide. An almost impossible tag. One defining moment.  

These moments make the long hours under the sun worthwhile.

I was but a mere spectator that Saturday, yet I am glad I stayed and watched. Dust powdered face and all. 🙂

moments14

Pitcher-Catcher moment

*****

photo credits: summer heat photos via google images ; Pitcher-Catcher moment photo from my ever reliable SLR (Taken in 2014 at the PONY Asia Pacific Tournament, Pony Division) 

Summer afternoons

I truly feel bad whenever I see my blog site and realize that I haven’t been blogging regularly. Changing my blog name (A Daily Dose of Betsy) has crossed my mind a number of times.

I just can’t find the time to blog daily.  Heck, sometimes I can’t post even one blog in a week! Tsk, tsk…

The spirit is willing, believe me, but time does not always permit.  Because life happens.   And as I let life happen, time just flies… Or I get too exhausted to stop and write… Or age catches up and my brain cells have a difficult time composing something.

Okay, enough of the blather.

So what has been keeping me busy…

I guess pretty much, this:

photo 1

Field of Dreams

Yes, we run a baseball camp.  My husband and I own and manage the Philippine Habagat Baseball Club.

The summer training started late March and will run until end of May.  Ergo, I am there at the venue Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to oversee registration and talk to parents and players, reply to inquiries.

Training is from 2pm-6pm. In the beginning of summer camp I used to go to the Club as early as 12:30pm and stay until training finishes.  So there goes my afternoon.  Lately, though, I manage to leave the Club much earlier. Once they are all settled, I start packing up. The boys don’t need me at the field, anyway.

photo 2

smaller boys doing exercises

It’s amazing how the Club has grown.  Five years ago when we first started, there were but twelve (12) boys. We actually started with ten — the other two joined middle of summer.  We only had one team. One team that was formed to join an international tournament.

We learned a lot from that one team… from that first year.

It was not an easy journey.  Being new, people watched us closely. There were people waiting, even wishing, for us to fail.  There were bumps along the way. The world can be cruel.

But then there were victories, too.  And somehow, the victories outweighed the challenges.

Now, 5 years later… We are still here!  Bigger, and hopefully, better.

We have sent a number of teams to various international tournaments.  We have joined — and won — a lot of local tournaments, in different divisions, to boot!

And yes, we have been running a baseball summer camp for about  four years now.

From a team of twelve 11 & 12 yr. old boys, we have grown to much, much more! We have boys as young as 4 years old and young men as old as 18, training with us.

God has been good.

photo 3

big boys in a huddle

SO this pretty much keeps me busy these days.

I am not one who enjoys the sun, the heat, the dust, the sweat… (thought balloon: Eeew!).

But I love the times I get to spend chatting with the players — especially the little ones– before training.  I also relish watching them grow right before my eyes.

As I watch them get better, stronger, transform from being timid to becoming a fighter, I can’t help but think that yes, we must be doing something right.

Better players, better people.

***

Of course, there still are afternoons when I wish I’m elsewhere — malling or having a massage or doing something girly — and not whiling the time away under the heat of the summer sun.

When the boredom arises, I just do what I do best…

summer selfie

Summer Selfie!!!

summer

windblown hair, anyone?

And yes, the afternoons pass much faster when you have your BFF to share it with…

bff

Chat away!!

 I’m living in the moment.  

These are my moments.

Happy Summer!

🙂

***

I credit myself and my phones for the awesome photos 😉