Monday, May 23, 2005

The end of the line

The 2005 Wheaton College baseball season came to an end, with a 6-4 loss to the Trinity Bantams. Trinity won their record 35th game of the season, as they go to Appleton, Wisconsin and the Division Three World Series, with a 35-7 overall record. The Lyons finish with a 33-12 mark, their second most wins in a season.

For my son, it’s been quite a year. As a junior, he became an everyday player for the first time in his college career and finished with a batting average of .340, with nine homers and 49 RBI. He also was named to the All-New England All-Star team as the first team DH.

While the season was a successful one in so many ways for my 21-year-old son, he made the final out of the season, as Wheaton had one last opportunity to win it in the bottom of the ninth.

I spoke to him briefly on the phone earlier in the evening. I had received a detailed account of the game from a fellow parent at the game. I called him to just let him know I was thinking about him and to see how he was doing. Having played a lot of baseball, I know how tough it is to deal with failure. But dealing with failure is a big part of sports and ultimately, life. I could tell by the sound of his voice he was a little down in the dumps.

As Rabbi Harry Sky says, one of the keys to life and living a life that’s meaningful is “learning to sit through our troubles. Suffering is a part of life,” says Rabbi Sky. “You become its master, or it becomes yours.”

My son has achieved more in baseball than I was able to—playing for the opportunity to go to a College World Series—yet, he’s also faced with new adversities different than some of my own. He’ll get over this and learn from the experience. Just like my own failures in the game I’ve come to love (and at times, hate), this lesson will help make him the person he is to become.

He’ll be home tomorrow after his end-of-the-year meeting with his coach. Then, he and I will have possibly our last summer to spend together. I’ll be coaching him as his dad, one last time. He’ll also have the opportunity to play ball again with some of his former buddies and high school teammates. Despite all the hassles and headaches for me of being involved with local baseball, that opportunity will be priceless.

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