Little League starts up again!
My oldest, Ethan, is 10. He adores baseball, which is a delight to my heart; we share that love. When he was four and five (my, that seems so long ago), we had him on tee-ball teams, but then, when he was almost-seven, he got post-strep arthritis. It turns out that his sore throat was actually strep, which I didn’t find out about until nearly two months after the sore throat, when the strep antibodies started attacking his joints, mostly his knees and hips. I’ve since found out that this happens in about 2% of untreated-strep cases. Anyways. For about three years, we had a horrible time with my poor son, who would have — at first, nearly daily flare-ups, which, over the course of years wound down to about once every two weeks. The first year was also a difficult time with three months of high-potency antibiotics, Vioxx (which has since been pulled from the market), steroids, and ibuprofen, to try to eliminate the cause and deal with the pain, plus NUMEROUS homeopathic remedies. He was actually supposed to be on the antibiotics for six months, but, to the consternation of his rheumatologist, we stopped them, because they were messing up his digestive system so bad, the doctors thought he had Crohn’s Disease, and he had to get a lower G.I. Ugh. It was a bad year.
All of that to say that he couldn’t play sports for a long time. When he had a flare-up, it would be so bad that I would have to dress him like a baby. Ever done that with a nine year old? It’s heartbreaking. He was absolutely immobilized by pain.
So, this past Fall was the first time we thought he was healthy enough for team sports. Indeed, I think the last flare-up he had was in August, bless God. He played “Fall Ball” — or, instructional-league baseball, in hopes that he’d be ready for Little League here in the Spring. He did well, and at the beginning of February, he went to try-outs, in hopes to make the Minor Leagues. To his great disappointment, he didn’t make it. AA ball for him. To make matters worse, they didn’t have a coach for Ethan’s team, so while other teams were practicing already, we were just twiddling our thumbs (and literally praying) for a coach. Finally, someone stepped up. Then, he had to go out of town the next week.
So, we’ve had four, two-hour practices scheduled this week, to try to play catch-up, since the team’s first game is Thursday, less than a week away.
The exceptionally good news, is that, while Ethan is (to a bit of his shame), the oldest kid on his team, he is certainly one of the best.
He told me — and it was so telling of his dear heart and character — that he had just been so nervous at the tryouts in February. “It was at a ‘real’ high school field, and there were so many kids, and I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t know the coaches, and I just couldn’t hit. But on this team, I really like the kids, and I like the coach — he says encouraging things every time we do something well — and I feel a lot better.”
So, as it’s supposed to, it looks like this Spring will be mainly to build his confidence.
Also, I like the team moms a lot better this year. A lot better. Last Fall, there was a passel of richer-than-thou, blonder-than-thou separatists who kept to their snooty selves, leaving me and one (sometimes two) other moms to take refuge in each other as we watched our sons play. This year, even though there’s (apparently) still a wide gap between the have and have-not-so-much families, there’s a lot better comradery between the moms. The friendliest woman is the wife of a surgeon and oozes $$ and svelte blondness, and I overheard her talk about her trainer. My heart sunk; I hate situations where everyone is trying to outdo each other with their own (or their husband’s or their kids’) accomplishments or attainments. However, this just doesn’t seem to be the case at all, and even though she has a personal trainer, she’s very approachable. 🙂 We actually had a great conversation about the dangers of undiagnosed strep; she had a cousin die from kidney failure from it, and was very sympathetic to Ethan’s plight.
Right now, since I’m pregnant (see the post previous to this one), the biggest problem becomes making dinner on practice/game nights. If I put dinner in the Crockpot that morning, that means I have to smell the dinner all day. But, if I wait until the afternoon or evening to make it, I feel worse than ever, and with no energy to boot, and my stomach turning at the sight of food.
Even with its small problems, I’m very happy to have baseball started again. I’m happy that Ethan is having a great time, and finishes each practice tired and smiling. I’m happy to have the motivation to boot me out of the house, which is hard for me to do when I’m expecting a baby, so intense are my nesting urges. I’m happy that my other two boys enjoy playing on the playground close to the practice field, and that Audrey is charming and spunky, running around during the practices…
Baseball is good.