Wishes that backfire!!

During the softball season, Friday nights are a lot of fun.  In our small city, we have Friday night games at a local park and folks interested and involved in softball make sure to stop by and catch a glimpse of the fast pitch softball game.  Kids hang out with their friends and adults swap stories and reminisce about how their kids’ last game was while snacking on the hot dog from the snack shack.

This past Friday was no different with the exception of rain in the forecast.  You know the Bay area weather report is 50/50 at best.  So another mom (you know who you are 😉 ) and I were secretly wishing for rain so our kids games would be cancelled, just so we can get another 30 mins of sleep on Saturday morning and do something different for a change.

Even though our city closed the fields, the problem was, we were playing against another team in a nearby city.  Anyone who lives here  in Silicon Valley is familiar with micro climates…. and darn it was not raining in the other town.

Finally we decided to pack up and go to the field and 10 mins from the field, the other coach calls and cancels the game.  Hurrah!!! except my husband had other ideas.  With a truck full of captive audience he calls his trusty companion “Okay Google now” navigate to “West coast sporting goods in San Leandro, CA”

And there we go, over the bridge, to the other side.  2 hours and a couple of Benjamin’s later we are proud owners of a glove for dad, gloves for the kids, SOME MORE softball pants, SOME MORE sliding shorts, bucket full of give away game balls and the latest model of chairs with sun shades.  If your kids play softball like mine, we spend what seems like eternity in sizzling Stockton in the summer several times.

Going to the game would have been definitely cheaper.  Well at least I was helping with the California drought and I also got ideas to add “Product Review” section to my blog.

Happy Raining!!!

What a FANTASTIC come back!

Celebration after just losing a game? Yes, that’s exactly what we (players and parents)did last evening.  What a fantastic game we had! After the first couple of innings we were losing 7-2 and we were worried about a deja vu of last week’s game.  The girls really surprised everyone and themselves by fighting back and totally shutting down the other team in spite of 2 injured players.  Final score was 7-6!! I think we are on the cusp of a great turn around this season.  Every player played their positions just like they were meant to do.  Great pitching, great base running, great throwing and great catching.  A perfect combination for an awesome game!

May be they meditated over last weeks outcome! or may be they didn’t think about the game at all!!

Here is a quote from Carl Yastrzemski one of the legends of Boston Red Sox, “I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don’t think about it is when I’m playing it.”

I think the last part of the sentence here is the most important.  I believe the girls were just having fun playing!!

“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical” – Yogi Berra

“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical” – Yogi Berra

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” – Yogi Berra

I guess you could cross out “baseball” and insert “softball” here.  Even though the quotes above by Hall of Famer Berra, who is famous for his Yogiism makes us chuckle, he is correct in the 90% mental part of the game.  This weekend I was witness to a game that one of my child’s team played that started out great in the first two innings and then the team kind of fell apart towards the end.  Players made some mistakes and just couldn’t shake it off to finish the game.  

They got hard on themselves and felt like they let their team down.  I guess the more upset and tense they got the worse they performed. How can this be rectified? It is easy said than done.  I think if we parents were put on the spot with many spectators watching, we would probably crumble the same way.  

How do you control your negative emotions when put under pressure and when you make a mistake?

I think we all need a “Bagger Vance” to caddy for us like he did for Junuh in the movie “Legend of Bagger Vance” to keep us focused.  

What came to my mind was my meditation teacher instructing the class to take a deep breath and let it go and come back to the “now”.  It is a very hard thing to do.  Our mind is like a monkey which chases our thoughts from one event to another.  Have you ever seen a monkey calm when it is not sleeping? By nature we humans are really good at building up on a negative thoughts and keep on going.  

It takes twice as much effort to think positive specially when you are facing a negative situation.

Unless scientists invents time travel to go back to the past, we really can’t go back to correct a mistake.  The only thing we have is “now” that we can control.

The players who accept that mistakes happen and mentally get past it to focus on the current game are the ones who achieve the mental toughness that coaches talk about.  I guess this will be the coach’s “Teachable opportunity” to stay focused on the current game and not worry about what just happened in the last play.

It is a great lesson to be learning for pre-teens and teens in the team and also their parents watching the game that day.  Imagine what your kids are missing out when they are not playing a team sport!

I’ll end this post with another one of Yogi Berra’s quotes : “I never blame myself when I am not hitting.  I just blame the bat and if it keeps it up, then I change bats.  After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I am not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?  😉

 How have you dealt with negative emotions of your teams and how do you get them past it?  Please share your teams mental drills if you have one.

Did you know how, when and where softball got started?

According to Amateur Softball Association , softball is the No. 1 Team participation sports played in the United States. There is also a brief description of how softball got started on a Thanksgiving day in 1887 in Chicago, IL as a surprise accident between the alumni of Yale and Harvard inside a boat club called Farragut Boat Club (see image-Courtesy of University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign) when a Yale alumni overcome by enthusiasm after finding out his Alma Mater won the football game, threw a boxing glove at the Harvard alumni who reacted by hitting the glove promptly with a stick. Since then the game has gone through many changes had various names, Indoor baseball, Kitten ball, Diamond ball, Ladies ball etc.  The name Softball was not coined until 1926.   To find out more, visit the ASA link above.

I survived catching for my almost 9 year old

Life is going to go into high gear tomorrow when most of the leagues have their opening day.  Today I got hit about 3 or 4 times today.  Those darn “soft” balls are not really soft when they come at you at 30 mph. Today was my first time catching! Ever!  I usually try to excuse myself from taking her to her pitching lessons but I did not have an excuse today.

I was worried!  I should have dressed in armor! Just kidding!  I did get hit a few times.  Even with a glove I could feel the sting of the ball as they hit the palm of my hand.  My daughter thought it was very amusing as she started throwing more strikes!  She had a good time pitching to me. Her pitching coach was being nice and not rolling on the floor laughing!

I survived and also learnt how hard it is to catch.  I have a new found respect for catchers now.