The question, “To win or not to win,” has been answered. The boys varsity baseball team aimed to win–but it didn’t. In fact, it was a shut-out, a mercy ruling, a sad end to an otherwise winning season. All I can say is that the drama teacher prayed harder than the rest of us.
I sent Mrs. Parfait, the semi-stressed but always pleasant drama teacher, a text immediately after the game: “You can stop praying now. We lost–in a mercy ruling.”
“I wasn’t praying–OK, maybe subconsciously. LOL. Sad for them,” she texted back.
“It wasn’t a happy ending,” I texted, “but it was an ending.”
As I sent that last text, I noticed that the sun–that very brightness likely responsible for some misplays in the outfield–had not yet set, though the game started at 6 p.m. This is baseball–known for its eternally long games. How likely was that? But our abbreviated five-inning game meant we would be getting home by 9 and in bed by 10. The luxurious rest I had considered in that win-win situation of my earlier blog post had begun! Winning!
The ride home with three players included discussion about the game, the season, the hopes and determinations for next year–and the usually teen silliness centered around an iPad and zombies, the upcoming prom, and random conversations. Upon our arrival, I emptied the van of its usual accompaniments (yes, these particular three players, but also the chairs, cart, and coolers). I put the chairs and cart in the garage and locked it. I removed food and drinks and put coolers away. I even emptied my customary Vera bag of the various team line-ups, the sunscreen and bug spray, the roll of toilet paper I religiously brought to every game “just in case,” and the host of mechanical pencils I had used in keeping the scorebook, idly wondering which ones still contained lead.
And I thought to myself, “It is over.”
The next time I put $100 of gas in my car in one week, it will likely be because I am on vacation, not because I am driving to and from a faraway baseball field. I can clean my van, knowing I won’t be carting stinky, sweating, sandy (but delightful) boys who will unclean it in moments. I can put away my Clay Mate, the Savior of white uniforms marred with red clay, and not feel impelled to do laundry the moment I walk in the door lest the stains set. My son will have no more baseball excuses for missed homework or slovenly work (oh, neither will I). I can focus on my home and family and teaching. I can get back into a more aggressive workout routine. I can take the time to meet a friend for lunch. I can enjoy my new online class starting soon. I can write more blog posts…
The bright side.
But I will miss my teen’s busyness, if not my own. My interaction with the boys and their parents. The challenge of keeping the book. The thrill of watching those great plays and come-from-behind wins.
I know this game was a win-win situation, that a loss certainly makes life easier on a practical level, especially for all involved with the upcoming school play. As I told Mrs. Parfait, it was a welcome ending. But it was a sad ending. I prefer the happy ones.