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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In case you missed it…

college-graduation

Start of something new…

I wrote this piece for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s online site brewyourbestyear.com just recently.  It’s something I wrote especially for this year’s graduating students. I thought of posting it here in my blog for the benefit of those who missed it. 

Read on and ponder… 

❤ ❤

Nuggets of Wisdom

Ahh, graduation.  It’s that time of year once again. A time to close another chapter of one’s life… a season ending.

It is during this time when parents listlessly ask, Where have the days gone? How did my child grow up so fast? Is he ready for the real world? While the students probably think to themselves, What is in store for me? What will life offer? Am I ready?

Don’t we sometimes wish that life comes with a guide book where we can find solutions to our problems or directions to follow so we can avoid getting into trouble or sticky and hurtful situations? Unfortunately, there’s no “Manual for an Easy and Perfect Life” available.

We learn from our own experiences.  We also learn from our peers. More so, we learn from our elders. We gain wisdom from the ones who went before us, simply because they have “been there” and yes, they have “done that.”

To the graduating students who are just about to go out into the real world, allow me to share some insights on life.  These are learnings that I have gathered through my years of having been there and having done that.  

Hopefully, these nuggets of wisdom can help guide you in this journey called real life…

Girlfriends

#Girlfriendsgoals

On Friendship

Friendships do not happen overnight. We all know that. It took days, maybe even months and years, for you to form a bond with your childhood, high school and college friends. I believe the same thing goes with people you will meet in the work place – or in the great ‘out there.’  Remember: Trust is earned.

Hold on to your old friends. You will meet new people. You will have new and exciting relationships. You may even not see your old friends for years.  Yet neither time nor distance can erase real friendships. Value the ones who were there when you were young, pure and innocent. They will remind you of who you really are, no pretensions needed, and they will love you just the same.

True friends are those who stick by you through thick or thin.

Not everyone can be your friend. So, you are Mr. or Ms. Congeniality… and yet there is someone who rubs you the wrong way. Or maybe you rub them the wrong way. It’s okay. You don’t have to be friends with everybody. But be nice.

brokenheart

People can sometimes break your heart…

On Dealing with People

People are not always appreciative so don’t expect them to be. You don’t have to please everybody.

You cannot expect everybody to always agree with you or think the way you do.  You don’t always have to agree with someone else’s opinion, but you can learn from the differences.  Besides, life will be boring if we all think the same way.

There will always be people who have a lot to say. The “know-it-alls.” They have something to say about you, about the government, about other people, about the weather. If you think and feel that what they say doesn’t do you any good, then by all means, shut them out. Constructive criticism is different from just plain criticism. Don’t let the negativity get to you.

Stay away from toxic, negative people.  They will suck the energy out of you. And check yourself, too. 

You cannot please everybody, help everybody, make everybody happy.  But being one person’s hero is enough.  Be that hero.

Happytobeme

I am the best Me

On Being the Best You

A person’s true character is revealed during difficult or trying times… not when things are good. The same applies to yourself, too.

You cannot buy breedingNor can you buy character.

Keep evolving. Is there a skill you want to learn? A hobby you want to begin? Then go for it. One is never too old to learn something new. You’ll be surprised at what you can actually accomplish if you just put your heart and mind to it. Don’t be afraid to surprise yourself.

Respect. Yourself. People. Their Belongings. Don’t be rude and self-absorbed. The amount of respect you expect from others is commensurate to the respect that you give.

It’s all about perspective.  When you feel like the world is closing in on you, step back a little.  Find a better view.  Breathe.  You may not be able to change the situation, but you can change your outlook.

Learn to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we make small slip-ups, sometimes we do major tumbles and fall hard. When you do, don’t wallow nor condemn yourself. Own up to your faults, dust yourself off, then move on.

Learn to apologize. Know when to say sorry and know when to forgive. Be the bigger person.

Stick to your non-negotiables.  They define who you are.

Be kind.  A little kindness, a heartfelt smile, a generous act, selfless actions go a long way. Some people need to see light shining on them. Be that light.

In everything, give thanks.

Lastly, share yourself, share your wisdom. Share what you know. Allow others to learn from you.

As you get older you will realize that one of the best compliments that you will ever receive is when people say how proud and fortunate they are that you are in their lives and that you are indeed a blessing to them.

So, go and be that blessing. ❤ 

***

 

All photos were grabbed — or borrowed — from google images. Thank you clipart, Sex and the City, and Sesame Street.

Write up originally published at CBTL’s brewyourbestyear.com. You may find the original link here. For more of my write-ups on this site, please click : Betsy Gacutan-Ochosa

 

New Chapters

It has been almost a month since my last blog entry.

A lot of things can happen in a month. Indeed, a lot of things have happened these past four weeks.

Milestone moments.

So, my unico hijo graduated from high school last May 30. He graduated with highest honors. He was one of the recipients of the Citizenship (Leadership) award, and he was also given the Scholastic and Academic Award. 

I was one proud mommy. I still am. 

I listened in awe as he delivered his Valedictory speech. That speech which he didn’t want to show us prior to graduation — mainly because he wanted it to be his own. I respected his decision because I knew that the writer in me would have ended up editing the speech here and there… And the mother in me would have added stuff that I thought was important. 

And so he held his own. He wrote his speech without any inputs from his parents… And he delivered it to the graduating class and the whole community with such grace and confidence. He talked about superheroes and about how one need not be a superhero to leave a mark in the world. He talked about his classmates and friends who in their own ways are mighty enough. He talked about the school and the community that shaped him to become the person the he is today.

As I observed the teachers, other parents, and the rest of the school community listening to his every word, I couldn’t help but think that yes, I must have done something good. Although I knew that the day was not about me… still, I couldn’t help but take pride in the fact that I helped raise this young man up. I had a hand in molding him into what and who he is now.

I also said a silent prayer of thanks to the Creator — for entrusting this child to me. I thanked Him for allowing me to experience this precious thing called Motherhood.

the graduate

With the Cup and the Cap that kept falling off — much to my dismay!!

❤ ❤ ❤

June 4 — the unico hijo turned 18.

Wow. 18 years. Time just flew by. He is now 18… I can no longer claim to be just 27 years old. Gosh.

I tried to think about how 18 years of being a mother has changed me. Aside from the additional 18lbs (or maybe even 20?) that I have gained through the years, surely there were other changes that took place.

For one I am no longer the clueless young mother that I was years back… I am now a clueless old mother. Haha, kidding. 

Motherhood doesn’t come with a handbook. One learns about parenting from other people — like your elders, or your peers. You also learn given the situations or circumstances that you face. You learn from your child. You learn from your mistakes, too. 

Ultimately you learn to trust your instincts and you make decisions based on what your heart tells you… because your heart will always opt for the good, wherever your child is concerned. 

Motherhood changed me. I learned things about myself, did things that I never thought I was capable of doing. I found that kind of strength that I never thought I had. I learned to make wise decisions. And more importantly, I learned to put someone else’s needs before mine.

Years back, when I decided to be a full-time, hand-on mom, I heard remarks that were enough to make one feel inferior. To some people, I became “just a mother.” Like my value as a person diminished somehow.

Now 18 years later, I’d still say that I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  

almon

Our first date after he turned 18 ❤ 

❤ ❤ ❤

The coming months will be pretty interesting because once my son is already in college, I will only be mothering from afar. So basically, I am starting a new chapter in my life, as well.

Whenever I read a book, I always look forward to starting new chapters. Each new chapter holds promise. If the previous one was bad, I look forward to the next one being good. If the previous chapter was good, I look forward to the next one being better.

As my son begins his new chapter, so will I begin mine.

Here’s to living God’s purpose, one life chapter at a time.

photo credits: pictures are all mine 🙂

Li’l Ms. Sunshine

 

 

mary poppins

You only need a spoonful of sugar…

I have always loved kids.  Even as a teenager, my relatives would call me Mary Poppins because for some reason, my younger cousins just loved to follow me around.  I enjoyed taking care of them, too.  

I have always been patient with little children, whether they were my cousins or my nephews and nieces… even our neighbors’ kids. I would hang out with whoever wanted to hang out with me.

I would read them books, tell them stories and jokes, sing them songs. Plus, I also liked the fact that I could sing lullabies and nursery rhymes out loud without them laughing at me.  With kids, you don’t have to perform like you’re in Broadway. Sometimes they even like it more when you are singing off key.  They think it’s fun. They think you’re fun!

I also spent a lot of time with my younger brother’s friends. I would tutor whoever needed tutoring — and I did it for free.  I liked sharing knowledge. I liked answering their many why’s. When I didn’t know the answer, I liked researching to come up with the correct reply. 

I liked teaching kids… And I valued the lessons I learned from them, as well. It is a two-way thing.

***

teacher

One thing I like about teaching really young kids is that you start on a clean slate.  More often than not, they are eager to learn and they show a certain enthusiasm in learning that makes you as a teacher want to give nothing but the best.  When you know that you are shaping someone’s future — and that you see their willingness to learn, it is embarrassing not to give them what they deserve.

Some ten or twelve years back –when my son started going to a ‘big’ school– I realized that I had time to spare, so I decided to take teaching seriously. I studied again, I took Child Psychology and Early Childhood Education Programs, I got a certificate, and eventually set up my own Kiddie Learning Center.

And so for two school years and two summers, I operated a learning center for children aged 2 to 5.  I did not teach big classes.  I opted for one-on-one tutorials.  I spent an hour and a half, sometimes two hours, with one student.

Believe me, when you are with a child, a lot can happen in two hours.  You will never know what MAY happen in two hours.

Usually, though, my enthusiasm for teaching was matched by my students’ thirst for knowledge.

Every session was different.  Every session was amazing.

***

My youngest student then just turned two when her parents enrolled her. Unlike her older cousin who was always enthusiastic about writing and being read to, this girl was more playful… That basically meant she wanted to play more than “study.”

Oh, she could be a handful. She couldn’t keep still, was always fidgeting. She would hold the crayon for five seconds then will throw away the whole box when she gets bored coloring. I had to think of creative ways of keeping her attention, otherwise the whole session will pass with us not accomplishing anything.

On some mornings, the two of us would stay outside, under the heat of the morning sun, and explore the garden using our five senses. She was my Little Ms. Sunshine.

I remember her being stuck with me one stormy day… She was so scared of the lightning and the thunder that I had to carry her and sing her lullabies for about an hour just so she wouldn’t cry. My arms and shoulders were so sore afterwards that it felt like I worked out for one whole day.

One December morning, she “decided” she wanted to help me decorate our Christmas tree. We spent an hour and a half studying shapes, sizes and colors of the ornaments while singing Christmas songs. She had a blast.

Like I said, every session was different.  Every session was amazing.

***

seasons

Seasons

In time, life took a different turn. That season in my life came to an end. Eventually I stopped accepting students and started with a new venture. My students got older, too. They started going to big schools, most of them moved houses, some have gone to other countries. For some time I lost touch with them.

Life happened. Life went on.  But the memories of those mornings and early afternoons I spent with my young students somehow stayed with me.. and never failed to put a smile in my heart.

The thought that you were able to help shape a child into becoming the best version of himself/herself is something that one cannot take lightly. It is something to be proud of.

 ***

ms sunshine

Li’l Miss…

I found Little Ms.Sunshine on Facebook a couple of years ago. We are Facebook friends now.

When she turned 14 several days ago, I couldn’t help but marvel at how fast time has flown.

Little Ms. Sunshine has grown into a really sweet and beautiful young lady.  I could see how close she was to her parents and how loving she was to her younger brother. 

When I greeted her on her birthday, this was her reply, Thank you, my first teacher.

My heart melted. 

I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, I made a difference in her life. ❤

***

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Prov. 22:6

 

photos via google images

Friendship, South of France

Today was errands day.

My agenda for the day included: Picking up Les Miserables tickets (done! so excited!); Do the groceries, buy food for the family (bought more than necessary… but then, what else is new?!); Get son’s picture from the photo shop; Pay some bills (some?!); Buy salad for lunch (perpetual diet but keeps cheating with dessert)…  And the list went on.

Walking at the mall, on my way to the supermarket, I bumped into an old friend, Elle — someone I haven’t seen in a long time. Continue reading