My son just completed his first season of high school baseball and boy was I surprised. I've heard a lot of horror stories about high school ball and understand that some are very true...but that wasn't our experience.
Our coach made it clear that he was going to play the best players and not keep anyone who couldn't help the team or would be a distraction. My son got a chance to compete for a spot and ended up starting, as did two other freshmen.
The seniors accepted and mentored him and they formed a tremendous bond. My son was injured in his very first high school at bat and the next day a senior picked him up and took him to and from school because he was on crutches. Because he doesn't have a license this continued throughout the year.
The boys constantly went to dinner together, hung out together and truly had great chemistry. This led to the first outright region championship in ten years and a 28-2 record.
They road the momentum into the playoffs and won the first three series before losing a sudden death game last night. After the game, the kids spent over an hour on the field. Honestly, it was very hard to watch because the pain was evident.
I said all that to say, I love travel baseball. I coached travel baseball - but I have a new appreciation and respect for high school baseball. It was a great experience! The brotherhood, the comradery, the school pride and community support was amazing to watch and experience. We drew nearly 2000 fans at the last two home games.
I know it's not the same everywhere but that was a lifetime's worth of memories all wrapped up in one season.