In 3rd grade we decided to play in a close suburb because their program was more organized than our local park and we made some wonderful friends. I completely enjoyed heading to the ball field to watch Max play and catch up with the parents.
Two years ago we stepped into the traveling portion because I finally gave in and allowed him to "travel" with two sports. It meant giving up most of our weekends in June and July. Traveling sports is a commitment and one that I know well because of hockey. Our life is hockey from November to March, I didn't want to give up our short summers too. But I realized how much Max was missing the competitive game that traveling offers and I did what you do when you're a parent, I put his feelings in front of my own and we joined and he LOVED it. Truth be told, I loved it too;)
This year was the last year that he could play with his boys because next year they'll all join their high school teams during the summer. The season wasn't great due to crap weather. LOTS of rain delays and cancelled games but we still managed to get our fair share in. And, although we didn't surpass last years 2nd place finish as we hoped, we finished 3rd in districts and state!
What I was completely unprepared for was the feeling of loss when it finished. Max has played with these boys for 7 years!! Because of the slower pace of the game verses hockey, there is a LOT of time to chat with the other parents and really get to know them. Because you're traveling and sometimes have back to back games with little time in between, everyone steps up and takes care of the boys without a second thought. You run to the store for water, ice and snacks. You ride share, you share blankets and umbrellas, you share the disappointments and wins, you become a family.
When the last inning was being played, I watched every second with a knot in my stomach. It was bittersweet to lose the game that would send us on to the next day but was SO proud of their 3rd place finish. It was over, not just the game but this portion of our lives with "this" family. I choked back tears as I said my goodbyes to the first few families. I wiped tears as I hugged and said goodbye to a few more. And, when I got home, I let myself cry. I knew that it was going to be tough to go through milestones with my kids but I never realized the sense of loss that I would feel with some of those milestones. I'm truly going to miss my Richfield family as is Max.
Here are some highlights from the season thanks to Marci's fabulous photos.
My ALL time favorite field. In the middle of a small town was this field that was right out of Field of Dreams. They announced each player as they came up to bat and played music between innings. It was a BEAUTIFUL summer day and the bonus...we won the game!
Celebrating a win over the 1st place team in state!
He claims he wasn't flashing Marci to be funny, just untucking his jersey. Either way, it made me smile.
We ran into one of his hockey buddies and they're doing a little catch up between batters.
Stand up DOUBLE
And, this would be a triple he hit, talking to his coach and changing out his batting gloves.
The action shots
The "it's 100 degrees with no wind" shot
The 3rd place medal shot "I" took.