As the parent of two young Rep. baseball players, my summer vacations have become strategically planned around travel ball tournaments. After six years my creative skills, used to manipulate my holiday schedule, have grown to include begging, pleading, and when necessary little white lies.
My last summer vacation started much as you would guess. The days were blocked off on the calendar; our conversations became focused on vacation plans and there was the usual excitement that precludes any upcoming holiday.
Finally, our departure day arrives. I perform the famous parent rendition: “Are you sure you have everything? I am not turning around once we leave”! This threat usually ends with ME doing one last round of double-checking the already double-checked.
With iPhones and earbuds in check, the vacation starts with a golden silence only interrupted by the words, “are we there yet” and “got any snacks”?
After driving for hours, we reach our destination. All our dreams and speculations of a “Casa Royal” are shattered. The reality of our moderate accommodation cannot be denied any longer. We face our temporary home with bravery and get on with our holiday.
I am so excited. Tonight, I will sit under the stars. Okay, the diamond lights but my imagination sees stars. As I lounge in the twilight along with all my mosquito friends, I pray to the baseball gods for a win. “Did the coach say a win would mean a 7:00 am start tomorrow, or was that if we lost”? Either way, it is bittersweet. It doesn’t matter, we are here to play ball!
The team wins! We head back to our quarters to celebrate with pizza, (our favorite hotel dinner on a budget), and a swim.
Ready to chillax we all head to the pool. I am confident I will enjoy some downtime. My partner (a coffee cup disguising my sip of sanity) agrees.
The pool, filled with fifteen 12-year-old boys, soon cuts into my relaxing time. With one quick gesture, my guys know I have had enough. We make the trek back to our room.
The boys are tired. Sleep comes easily to them. I lay awake and listen to my fellow travel mates unwinding with a few cocktails in the hotel hall. I feel drawn to them and think some social would be nice, after all, it is my holiday. Alas, I stay put knowing a sun-drenched ball diamond is not the place to nurse a hangover. Content with my decision, I get comfy and I am soon lulled to sleep by the growing exaggerated renditions that come with booze-driven storytelling.
The morning arrives. Decked out in my pajamas (no shame here, I am on vacation) I head out to investigate breakfast. The greasy bacon cannot tempt me. I settle for a tea, return to my room and begin organizing my crew. With great excitement, we are off for a fun-filled day of baseball. Today I will bask in the sun and the sand.
Reaching the ballpark, I make an accurate estimate. It is roughly a 2K walk to the diamond. “What do you mean the diamond is WAY over there”? “Why did I park here”? The recent memory of driving home peering through a broken windshield reminds me that the long walk is necessary.
I begin the long hike lugging my heavy, overfilled wagon.
I pick a spectator spot behind home plate. What a great view! Now I can relax. There is nothing for me to do but watch the game…and encourage, console, yell, cheer, visit the food stand, fill water bottles, fix uniforms, pitch-count, take pictures, record videos, stay calm, give moral support, clap, find band-aids, hold the ice pack, hand out sunflower seeds, apply eye black…
In my spare moment, I lather on sunscreen. The wind picks up and by the second inning, my sunscreen has become a fine coat of sandpaper. I gaze over at the grass with jealousy and make a mental note to rethink my choice of viewing location.
By Sunday, we are all sunburnt and tired. We load up the vehicle and make the journey home.
The boys are exhausted, but they had a blast. We didn’t win the championship, but the memory of great plays, teamwork, bonding, family, and friendship will last forever.
Home safe and sound. I can’t wait to shower, grab a cocktail, unwind and relax on my patio.
Would I do it again? “HECK, YA”! “Again and again and again”! I love my boys. I’m their Baseball Mom!
There is a mountain of laundry to do, but I will get to that tomorrow: the last day of my vacation.