You call it a hit. We call it Progress.

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We’ve been your biggest fan since you stepped on the tee-ball field. We remember the awkwardness of you holding the bat, and the tee spilling over as you tried to hit the baseball.  We cheered hard for you and we understood all the pressures you felt. But the reality was, there was no pressure. It was just your introduction to baseball and we tried to help you understand that.

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We’ve rooted you on in ‘coach pitch’, ‘kid’s pitch’ and held you tight as you sobbed in our arms after you struck out. We practiced with you in the backyard, and always made sure you knew there was support. The game was getting harder, but, and you didn’t know it then… you were getting better.

There were 3 base errors along the way that you called a “triple”. Once in a while you’d beat out an infield single, but as the challenges continued… we made sure you always had your hat, your glove and were at practice and games early. We dealt with your anxiety of not wanting to play some days, but once you got in the car, we calmed you down.

We watch you get discouraged when your monster hit was caught. We saw you choke up on 2 strikes for some bat speed, and we also watched you run your butt off trying to get to first. There were many more ‘outs’ than ‘safes’, but we explained all that and helped keep your head in the game.

James Monaco ties it up

And when that “big” hit finally happened… we saw the confidence in your face. We watched you smile, giving a high five to your coach. And inside, for us parents, there was a sense of relief and excitement because our kid finally cracked the code. As hits would continue, you’d almost feel invincible. But we as parents knew that more challenges were ahead, and so we braced ourselves for more frustration.

And then that bigger field came, and it started all over again. The frustration of hitting the baseball. The anxiousness of not being “good enough”. Many of your friends quit, but you stayed. Aggravation took a front seat though, and we’d listen to your disappointment after going 0-4. We’d try to guide you, but you just needed to vent, and we were always there to hear you out.

But then, like clockwork, you understood the game again, re-adjusted and came out swinging. While not 4-4 every time… you contributed once again, alittle wiser this time, alittle stronger, and definitely much better. And we as parents were there to guide you along the way.

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We’ve watched every highlight and low point of your baseball career, and we root harder than anyone on the field. Most importantly though, we see the progress you make every single day, even though some days you don’t see it… we do, and we’re damn proud of that.

But the best part of you being a ballplayer is the growth. You’ve managed to look at every obstacle and deep down trust your abilities. And while not perfect every game, you still break through to help your team win. It may be a 2 out, 2 run single, or it may be a walk and you coming around to score. And we’re there, front row… every single game, every single practice, because when you were 4 years old trying tee ball all those years ago, you fell in love with the game, and had a desire to “keep going”. We helped you get there.

You are not alone on the baseball field, ever. Your parents are always there. Through the big hits and in those crushing defeats. You always have a person to brag to and you always have a shoulder to cry on.

So go play the game you love. Trust me… we’ll be there no matter what. We always have, we always will be. That’s because we’re your biggest fan.

More inspiration? Follow The Heart of Youth Baseball FB page.

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