With our team’s final game in the Valley of Champions tournament, we watched as an epic chapter came to an end. Baseball has been a huge part of our lives since 2000. For 14 years we have lived and breathed baseball from March until August. Maybe someday I will do the math to figure out how many games that might work out to, but I won’t be doing that today. We have risen through the ranks from Mini-tad to Midget, from t-ball to 9-man ball. We have been in tournaments from Kamloops to Revelstoke to North Delta. We have played in Provincial Championships here at home twice, in Mission twice, and in Prince George. We’ve played in snow, rain, thunder & lightning, hail, wind, bitter cold, and scorching hot sun. We have lost horribly and won magnificently.
All three of our children have played baseball, and there were many days where we were required to be in two or three different places at the same time. Spring baseball season was crazy busy. Summer All-Star baseball season was a little bit shorter but often just as busy. I’m sure I ran on fumes for those few months, enjoying the games but eager for life to slow down.
But all that came to an end today. Sam ‘graduated’ from minor baseball a couple of years ago, and Abby ‘retired’ from baseball at the end of last season. This year was Casey’s graduation year, not only from high school but also from minor baseball. There really wasn’t going to be an All-Star team this summer, but we put together a team for the Valley of Champions tournament, which we co-host every summer. So, our summer season was exceptionally brief.
The weekend may not have ended quite as we would have liked, but I think we had a good tournament. We lost our first game because of one bad inning. We rallied to a tie for our second game, and we played very well to win our third game. The fourth, and final round robin, game was a blow-out and not in our favour. That was not a good game, but we still made it to the consolation final this morning. I had to miss the first two innings due to a commitment for Abby at church, and that first inning was not very good. Apparently we made quite a few errors and gave up 4 runs. Casey pitched nearly the entire game and did a great job! We put up a good fight, but we fell short by one run.
I was fine for most of the game. Even though I knew it was Casey’s final minor baseball game, the reality of it hadn’t quite sunk in yet. But then, in the final inning, Casey reached the maximum number of pitches a player can throw. One of the coaches called Kane over to the dugout in a hurry and sent him out to take Casey out of the game. That struck me as strange, because, even though Kane was one of the coaches, the other two coaches normally took care of such a task. It wasn’t until Kane came back off the field, walked over to where I was standing and admitted to being teary-eyed that I realized the honour the other coaches had just given to my husband. Casey had thrown his very last pitch, and his father was the one to take the ball and congratulate him on a job well done. (Wish I had realized that sooner, so I could have taken a picture!) And that was when reality hit and the tears began to well in my eyes. I’m blaming my husband for that, because I was fine until he broke down.
It is weird to think of life without baseball. There will be no more eating supper at 4:00, so we can rush to the ballpark for 5:00 warm-up. We won’t have multiple weekends dedicated to tournaments. My calendar will be just a little bit less full, I hope, although life always seems to be busy no matter what drops out of our lives. Abby thinks the lawn chairs will gather dust in the shed. One thing is for certain…baseball season is officially over!