Back in the Batter’s Box – A Daddy Diary

As I ready myself to flip the calendar to 2014, I have a couple of posts that were unfinished from earlier in 2013 that I’d like to post now.   Come Set, and Here’s the Pitch.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as me gloating about my little girl, but I’m darn proud of my brave (no Atlanta reference) shortstop.  And, maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to brag about our kiddos every once in a while, right?

Those of you that read these Daddy Diary posts know what a huge baseball fan that I am.  Insert Softball in place of baseball when referring to my daughter (and all girls out there that play on the diamond).  I stress two things to my kiddos above all else.  One, this sport is fun.  The moment it stops being fun, we need to re-think what we’re doing.  So far, so good on that one, at least that’s what they tell me.  They look like they have fun too, so we’ll assume so far, so good is as accurate as a strike down the middle.

The second item that I stress is that the team is more important than the player.  Team first.  Cooper and Delaney second.  That’s the order of priority.  I believe that they believe this as well, but as a Dad (and Coach), I like reassurance.  Delaney sold me some reassurance on Monday, July 8th with no false claims.

Delaney is a good little infielder.  Strong arm, good lateral quickness, can make just about all of the plays.  She works hard at it.  She’s earned the right to play.  I’m proud of her of course.  On the offensive side of things, she’s always been a scrappy little slap hitter, makes contact, has good wheels thus beats out most hits.  Then, May 16th happened.  She was hit by a pitch.  Let me re-phrase.  She took a direct hit to the ribs.  See, 10u Softball is the first year girls pitch to each other (in lieu of Coach Pitch or Machine Pitch), so the pitcher’s finger is not always on the control button.

Game One Post Beaning, not good.

Delaney looked like Justin Bieber in the batter’s box.  She was dancing all over the dirt.  And, this continued for another 7 games.  She either walked or struck out for the next 3 weeks.  I had to look back at old scorecards to remind myself that Delaney used to hit the ball.  And do so, often.  I was worried.  I’d seen this before.  She was holding on too tight.  It reminded me of “Cougar” in the movie “Top Gun.”  And, we all know what happened to Cougar.  He turned his wings.

Delaney Softball Back

Well, a couple of games ago, Delaney finally stopped doing the 2-step in the box and instead hit a 2-hopper into Right Field for a base hit.

She had a smile across her face that went from foul line to foul line.  Now, it’s July 8th.  Confidence is re-stored, but back to the scene of the original crime.  Time to face the same team that plunked her that first go-around 3 weeks prior.  And, on top of all of that, Delaney had a Grade 2 Sprain of her right wrist after a scooter wipe out, was diagnosed with a Sinus Infection and Strep Throat.  No need to call DFS, no fever, Day 5 of Antibiotics, she felt “fine” but the cough persisted.  If she couldn’t play, team would forfeit due to too few players being available (it’s vacation season and many early season rain outs have pushed our season into Mid July).

We gave Delaney the option of staying home, resting the wrist, throat, sinus cavity, adrenal gland, etc, but she insisted on playing.  There was no push from our family dugout, it was strictly the shortstop showing that going into the hole, in this case, wasn’t happening.

Only one ball was hit her way, she made the play.  At the dish, she walked, struck out and hit a slow little bouncer to the 2nd baseman for her 3 at-bats.  On the scoreboard, the Angels lost the game.  But, I’ll say I was never more proud of my little girl than that day.  It was hot, she didn’t feel great, her wrist was achy, she had every reason to not go to that game, but she found a way to gut her way through it.  This Angel retained her wings.  Top Gun Sequel left on the editing room floor.

Now, she’s back in her comfort zone, wing healed, full of bounce and double plays to turn … and burn.

Sincerely,

Dad of a Softball Aviator