Well, I've waited a couple of days to post, but my son's "real" baseball career ended on Sunday with a loss in the D2 regionals.  That day and since have been way worse than senior day a few weeks ago.  I've been on this site since July of 2007, so nearly 9 years.  A lot has happened over that time.  I have seen my son grow from an 8th grader to a senior in college.  I've seen him grow from a kid to a man.  Although in many ways, he's still a big kid .  My emotions have been a little crazy.  I keep thinking back over all the years that he's played baseball.  From when he was 7 playing "machine" pitch to 8 when he started pitching himself, to Cooperstown at 12, to playing varsity in HS as a freshman and all the way through his college years.  For almost 17 years now, our life and his life have been about baseball, now it's not.  And it has gone by SO quickly.  I went to my 8 year old nephew's baseball game the other night and had tears streaming down my face for half the game thinking about my son when he was younger.  It was such a wonderful ride.  I honestly don't think I'd change anything.  

As with many people, his career did not end the way we all had envisioned.  Over his college career, his velocity dropped and he just didn't get to play as much as he would have liked to.  We have speculated many reasons why and he worked hard to try to get it back, but it didn't come back in time to make a significant impact his last couple years of college.  He was fortunate enough to play on a very good team that won 142 games over his 4 years and made it to the regionals twice.  In his senior year, they won their conference regular season and the conference tournament.  The guys on the team are brothers.  Very close knit group of guys and it made the ride much easier to hang in there.  My son is a baseball guy through and through.  I think he is going through some of the same emotions I am.  Very nostalgic and wondering what life will be like after baseball.  At some point, he wants to get involved in a men's league.  In college he became a pitcher only after playing MIF as well as pitching up to that point.  He REALLY misses playing in the field and hitting and is looking forward to get to do some of that again.

It's sad, but I am very proud of what he has done and who he has become.  We are friends, he's probably my best friend...  I like who he is, I enjoy his company.  Although we have gone through this whole process together, it has not divided us, but created a bond that I cherish.  As I said earlier, although I wish his baseball had been a little better at the end, I really don't think I'd change a thing.  I really wish we could go back and do it all over.  

It is  an emotional time right now, but one that will lead to bigger and better things I think.  He has some school left and he'll be finishing that up, then it's onto real life.  Neither of us is sure what he will wind up doing, but he'll figure it out.

I know I've rambled here a little, but the end of a big part of our lives is over and I just thought I'd share it.  I know it's been said MANY times here on HSBBW, but enjoy the ride while you can.  Cherish every moment, because it will come to an end.  And when it does, it will feel like it was just yesterday that it all started and you will wish it could go on forever.  

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BBALLMAN,

Thanks for posting those thoughts and important reminders.  Please stick around, your experience and opinions might help others.  I bet your son will become very successful and that in some way his baseball experiences will help him be successful.  Baseball provides an additional education for many.

Stupid pollen!  Great read. Thanks for sharing and enjoy the years/decades to come. And, you son can always keep playing baseball somewhere...

Wow. Those two pictures are priceless. Agree with buzzard fortunately I am on a free period alone in the teachers lounge!  I don't want to think about the end. I found a picture recently with his toothless smile. What an innocent time. Just a pure joy and excitement for the game. I am sad for you. Wish you could go back to those toothless days with your son and start all over again!  Best of luck. And the rest of us will do the best we can to slow it down and enjoy the ride!

Nice post.  I'm definitely working on that cherish part.  Though it's hard sometimes!  We had a walkoff win last night that was almost too exciting to bear.

BBALLMAN,

Awesome, just incredible post & journey. Thanks so much for sharing. I am going to share some details of my journey that may help with this transition, maybe not.

I also played thru college 4 years & was fortunate enough to get drafted (late) & grinded it out for 7 years in pro ball. I can tell you that, absolutely, without question, the most fun I had playing was in Little League, HS, College, in that order with Pro Ball a distant 4th. Baseball is often about Dad's & their sons & your journey is no exception. My Pro Ball career shattered my relationship with my Dad when I voluntarily retired after getting married & having 2 small children at home & seeing little light at the end of the tunnel as a "non prospect, organizational player." We did not speak for 5 years after being as close as you can be for all of the trip prior.

Baseball has done so much for your son, as you detail, as well as created a bond with you that is obviously amazing but will be tested now as you move forward. He will be searching for an identity & meaning & questioning everything he has done & why it has turned out this way. He may not discover the answer in short order. Be patient. Time will reveal the true meaning of his journey, as it did for me.

Best wishes & keep being an awesome Dad.

 

   

Steve A. posted:

BBALLMAN,

Awesome, just incredible post & journey. Thanks so much for sharing. I am going to share some details of my journey that may help with this transition, maybe not.

I also played thru college 4 years & was fortunate enough to get drafted (late) & grinded it out for 7 years in pro ball. I can tell you that, absolutely, without question, the most fun I had playing was in Little League, HS, College, in that order with Pro Ball a distant 4th. Baseball is often about Dad's & their sons & your journey is no exception. My Pro Ball career shattered my relationship with my Dad when I voluntarily retired after getting married & having 2 small children at home & seeing little light at the end of the tunnel as a "non prospect, organizational player." We did not speak for 5 years after being as close as you can be for all of the trip prior.

Baseball has done so much for your son, as you detail, as well as created a bond with you that is obviously amazing but will be tested now as you move forward. He will be searching for an identity & meaning & questioning everything he has done & why it has turned out this way. He may not discover the answer in short order. Be patient. Time will reveal the true meaning of his journey, as it did for me.

Best wishes & keep being an awesome Dad.

 

   

Wow Steve. Really sorry to hear that. It's never too late. Hopefully you and your dad can make things right. Best of luck. 

Steve A. posted:

BBALLMAN,

Awesome, just incredible post & journey. Thanks so much for sharing. I am going to share some details of my journey that may help with this transition, maybe not.

I also played thru college 4 years & was fortunate enough to get drafted (late) & grinded it out for 7 years in pro ball. I can tell you that, absolutely, without question, the most fun I had playing was in Little League, HS, College, in that order with Pro Ball a distant 4th. Baseball is often about Dad's & their sons & your journey is no exception. My Pro Ball career shattered my relationship with my Dad when I voluntarily retired after getting married & having 2 small children at home & seeing little light at the end of the tunnel as a "non prospect, organizational player." We did not speak for 5 years after being as close as you can be for all of the trip prior.

Baseball has done so much for your son, as you detail, as well as created a bond with you that is obviously amazing but will be tested now as you move forward. He will be searching for an identity & meaning & questioning everything he has done & why it has turned out this way. He may not discover the answer in short order. Be patient. Time will reveal the true meaning of his journey, as it did for me.

Best wishes & keep being an awesome Dad.

 

   

I had to read this twice, I assumed I misread the first time. crazy.

Posts like this is why this place is so special to me. Honest. Open. Real. Your son has something no one will ever be able to take away. He is so far in front of those who don't have it its not funny. He will take that with him into life and be successful in whatever he chooses to do. And you were lucky enough to be along for the ride my friend.

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I know you can wait a couple of years. But this is just one of the special blessings down the road for you. Baseball will be put in its own special place. And even more special moments will be on the way. It gets even better. Trust me! 

 

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Steve A. posted:

BBALLMAN,

 

Baseball has done so much for your son, as you detail, as well as created a bond with you that is obviously amazing but will be tested now as you move forward. He will be searching for an identity & meaning & questioning everything he has done & why it has turned out this way. He may not discover the answer in short order. Be patient. Time will reveal the true meaning of his journey, as it did for me.

Best wishes & keep being an awesome Dad.

 

Thanks for the perspective Steve.  With every new stage of life, there are challenges.  I'm sure my son's and my relationship will be tested and head in a new direction.  Much of our discussion has been about baseball - how he's doing, suggestions for mechanics improvements, encouragement to hang in there and be a good teammate, what other teams in his conference are doing and how things are looking for his team, etc...  So, a big part of what has bonded us will be gone.  It's a little scary and challenging.  I know he feels some dissonance about  where he stands now as well and I don't want to bring stuff up that will make that worse for him.  

I'm sure your dad went through a tough time, as you did when the ride came to an end and maybe he just didn't know how to deal with it.  You said it was 5 years before you talked again.  Hopefully, that period is over.  

Anyway, I'm sure things will get less emotional over time.  It's a little better already, but reading some of your responses has brought the tears streaming again...  Thank you all for responding.

2020dad posted:
Steve A. posted:

BBALLMAN,

Awesome, just incredible post & journey. Thanks so much for sharing. I am going to share some details of my journey that may help with this transition, maybe not.

I also played thru college 4 years & was fortunate enough to get drafted (late) & grinded it out for 7 years in pro ball. I can tell you that, absolutely, without question, the most fun I had playing was in Little League, HS, College, in that order with Pro Ball a distant 4th. Baseball is often about Dad's & their sons & your journey is no exception. My Pro Ball career shattered my relationship with my Dad when I voluntarily retired after getting married & having 2 small children at home & seeing little light at the end of the tunnel as a "non prospect, organizational player." We did not speak for 5 years after being as close as you can be for all of the trip prior.

Baseball has done so much for your son, as you detail, as well as created a bond with you that is obviously amazing but will be tested now as you move forward. He will be searching for an identity & meaning & questioning everything he has done & why it has turned out this way. He may not discover the answer in short order. Be patient. Time will reveal the true meaning of his journey, as it did for me.

Best wishes & keep being an awesome Dad.

 

   

Wow Steve. Really sorry to hear that. It's never too late. Hopefully you and your dad can make things right. Best of luck. 

Thanks, appreciate that. You are right, it is never too late. He is gone now but we did get right. I could never understand why things worked out for me the way they did but now I see the plan.

Sometimes what you really think you want & need is not what is best. For me, it was about preparing me for my role in the lives of people I had not yet even met, including my son. 

 

bballman posted:
Steve A. posted:

BBALLMAN,

 

Baseball has done so much for your son, as you detail, as well as created a bond with you that is obviously amazing but will be tested now as you move forward. He will be searching for an identity & meaning & questioning everything he has done & why it has turned out this way. He may not discover the answer in short order. Be patient. Time will reveal the true meaning of his journey, as it did for me.

Best wishes & keep being an awesome Dad.

 

  I know he feels some dissonance about  where he stands now as well and I don't want to bring stuff up that will make that worse for him.  

 

I can remember, vividly, thinking "what the hell are we going to talk about now?" As for me, I did not want to talk about the game. Did not watch a single game for 10 solid years. If your boy wants to play the Men's League I think that is great. Show the same interest in that. Let him bring it up. Tell him the truth about how you are proud of him & the journey has just changed, not ended. It never ends because once this game is truly in your blood, you carry it with you forever.

Most importantly, he needs to know that you love him & you value him, as much now, maybe more, than his career days. The thrill of watching him compete was an honor & a privilege. Everyone hangs em up at some point & there is supposed to be sadness there. It's all going to be fine.      

BBALLMAN,

My humble opinion...  but somehow I have this feeling that he will go on to do other things in life that you'll be extremely proud of.  Continue to be Dad and friend.  He needs your support in other ways now.

This is one of the best threads I've seen here in awhile.

Steve, your story brings back some unenjoyable times in my past in a much different way.  I had great parents, but they never cared about baseball or sports.  So when things ended it was just me that cared, it didn't bother anyone else.  Not sure if that made things harder or easier.

As much of a baseball nut that I am,  I know for sure that there are many much more important things in life.  But not much of anything more important than family and friends.

BBALLMAN - you have been one of our great members here at the hsbbweb.  I've always enjoyed reading your posts.  My heart goes out to you and your family. 

You will hopefully get a do-over in all this and that is called grandkids.  Mine is now 9 years old and he is playing tournament ball in the same league that my sons used to play in.  I don't get upset by things anymore and just enjoy the opportunity of watching him play.

In the meantime, you can go fishing and do other fun things with your son that are just as meaningful.  All the best to the young man and your family in the future! 

bballman

Congrats to your son on a great college career and to a you also.  What a great post. I just went through a similar weekend. Son's team losing in a D2 regional.

The emotions that you go through are incredible, not only for your own son but the group of seniors he started with are all like sons.

The team was in left field after the game for a long time waiting for the winners presentation, it gave time for a lot of emotional embraces between players and the parents in the stands.  I was glad I was leaning over the fence taking pictures for longer than I needed to. I wasn't really able to communicate with anyone, I thought I was good to go until another father approached , neither of us could really talk, a hug and handshake was about all we could get through. It got a little better after that.....

By the time the players made it to us most of the big tears were gone....

My son is a redshirt jr. , finished his degree and still figuring out his options for next year,  I may have to go through this again?

My wife texted me on Monday that she was sad.. I replied that mowing grass always helps me and that the key was in the mower!   Didn't work.

Graduation ceremony for the school took place during the last game, our son sent a video home yesterday where the boys had there own ceremony, Although rather informal,  crude, and hilarious it showed the love that actually exists between these teammates.

 

PGStaff posted:

This is one of the best threads I've seen here in awhile.

Steve, your story brings back some unenjoyable times in my past in a much different way.  I had great parents, but they never cared about baseball or sports.  So when things ended it was just me that cared, it didn't bother anyone else.  Not sure if that made things harder or easier.

As much of a baseball nut that I am,  I know for sure that there are many much more important things in life.  But not much of anything more important than family and friends.

The game has a way of leaving some marks on you, no doubt. We all have a unique journey & it is the sharing of it with family & friends that gives it true meaning.

Okay, I would like to request that this thread be locked and deleted.  My God you guys are killing me here

As I sit here with a rising SR. in HS who will hopefully get four more years of baseball...I realize that at best I probably have 5 years left of getting to watch him play (and yes, I selfishly said "I").  Given how fast the past 5 years have gone by, it will be over in the blink of an eye.

mmm1531 posted:

bballman

The emotions that you go through are incredible, not only for your own son but the group of seniors he started with are all like sons.

...

 

Graduation ceremony for the school took place during the last game, our son sent a video home yesterday where the boys had there own ceremony, Although rather informal,  crude, and hilarious it showed the love that actually exists between these teammates.

 

I can relate to these as well.  When my son was a freshman, there were 10 other guys who came in with him.  Either other true freshmen or RS freshmen at the school for the 1st time.  5 of them made it all the way through.  4 of them just finished their careers and one got a redshirt along the way and will be back next year.  There are also a number of guys who came in the following year and have been on the team with my son for 3 years.  I'm a guy who likes to get to know the players.  I talk to them after the games, give them encouragement, we go out to dinner together after the games and on away trips, etc...  I'm going to miss all those guys as well.  There were 12 seniors this year.  It was tough on all of us.  Could hardly say anything to the other parents we have gotten close to or I'd start balling.  That last day was a tough one...

The team was actually out of town at the Conference Tournament during the formal graduation ceremonies back at the school.  The parents of those guys actually graduating had a get together at a restaurant and there must have been 60 people there between players, parents and girlfriends.  It was one of the funnest get togethers ever!!  You could just look at the kids and the smiles on their faces and the way they interacted with each other that you could really tell they were a family...  

My son said when they went to the locker room after their last game for their last meeting, the coach actually broke down while he was talking to them.  He's been coaching this team for 19 years and said this is the best group of guys he's ever had.  Son said everyone started crying...  

Man, there are a million stories I could tell from all through the years.  Every time someone brings up another aspect, it gets me thinking again.  I'll have to stop responding to everyone or I'll get super dehydrated.  

My wife texted me on Monday that she was sad.. I replied that mowing grass always helps me and that the key was in the mower!   Didn't work.

I was on the verge of crying until I read this.  Thanks for that little break in the sadness.  Maybe she got distracted - I'd certainly give it one more try.

BBALLMAN - I was first introduced to your wisdom on a local forum.  I even remember a few months back asking you to weigh in on a subject and I don't even know you...but I have always valued your opinion.

"Enjoy the ride because it will be over before you know it" is something that you've said over and over and I get it now. Shoot, my son will be entering high school in the fall but I was just having a conversation about how T-ball seemed like it was yesterday with another dad during 8th grade graduation on Monday.

So, from a dad who desperately wants to get it right to another who's done it right....thank you for caring enough about others to share some of your special memories with us over the years. You have indirectly helped me raise my son through your posts and I will be forever grateful for that. 

Best wishes to your son on whatever his next passion becomes because I am sure that you'll be just as passionate about it too. 

BBALLMAN....awesome post! Thanks for sharing! Steve....ditto to you! My son played high school varsity as a freshman this season. Very good learning experience and he pitched very well against very good competition. He will be playing 17u this summer in some big time events even tho he turned 15 last month. I am excited I get to spend my summer with him! Stepping away as coach and watching from the sidelines has made me understand how big a place baseball has in MY FAMILY!! Listening to stories like Steves shows me that MY FAMILY has a bigger place in my son's baseball life when it gets down to it, and I need to make sure I have as big a place in my sons non-baseball life. I didn't have that with my Dad, and it is imparative that I live each day so my son has NO regrets towards my involvement no matter how big or small it is with any and all of his life! Thanks guys for making a 52 year old man understand why he lives how he lives! Gotta love the beauty of this board on days like this!!

2019Lefty21 posted:

BBALLMAN....awesome post! Thanks for sharing! Steve....ditto to you! My son played high school varsity as a freshman this season. Very good learning experience and he pitched very well against very good competition. He will be playing 17u this summer in some big time events even tho he turned 15 last month. I am excited I get to spend my summer with him! Stepping away as coach and watching from the sidelines has made me understand how big a place baseball has in MY FAMILY!! Listening to stories like Steves shows me that MY FAMILY has a bigger place in my son's baseball life when it gets down to it, and I need to make sure I have as big a place in my sons non-baseball life. I didn't have that with my Dad, and it is imparative that I live each day so my son has NO regrets towards my involvement no matter how big or small it is with any and all of his life! Thanks guys for making a 52 year old man understand why he lives how he lives! Gotta love the beauty of this board on days like this!!

Thank you Lefty, appreciate that. I will leave you with this. Yesterday, my boy came home from school. I have a huge front yard with an open batting cage. After a while he said, "hey Dad lets go swing it." I got the bucket, went out front while he put his shoes on. Our Yellow Lab got beside me behind the screen & waited. He stepped in & got loose. I threw one in the dirt & my Lab looked up at me. I threw another & he cracked it solid up the middle. The dog bolted after it & brought it back & dropped it at my feet. Life is good, I now understand why it all went down the way it did. 

I've been lurking here for awhile soaking up the knowledge and advice in an effort to help my son reach his goals This feels like the right place to make a first and maybe only post. Thank you for the reminder about what this time is really about. My family has a a picture very similar to your first one. I hope by the time my 2018 makes his ride through the grind that he's smiling just as big when the game ends.

Thanks for posting!  I really enjoyed it.  Every once in awhile, I think about the day that it is over, and it hurts to even think about.  Since Ryno just finished his freshman year, it is even closer.  Thanks for the perspective and good luck on the future for you and your son...

The Doctor posted:

Very nice read, luckily for me nobody is home.

Doc - You can always slice up some onions for homemade onion rings. :-)

BBallman,

I have known you for a long time, I can tell you that you will be ok, and so will your son.  Don't go away, we need you!  Lots of stuff to pass down to others!

Kenny May what an adorable grand daughter you have!

These milestones don't make me sad, just old!  

 

 

 

BBallman,

Thanks for sharing. Not a single person here's life turned out the way they planned. I know mine didn't. One of the beauty's of baseball is that it mirrors life so much and your son has had an amazing experience that most never get to experience. All of his experiences are going to make him so much stronger and successful no matter what he decides to do. BOF Jr's ride ended last year and it took a while for it to sink in, but you know what? I talk to him much more than I ever did when he was on the college/school/baseball high wire. Do I miss it? Sure I do, but we're talking about all kinds of life things that we never had the time before due to his crazy schedule. He is now busy plotting his life course instead of baseball, which in the end is what we all want from our kids.  Plus we get to play golf now! Congrats to you and your son for completing what most never get the chance to. 

 

 

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