In a season where I’ve watched my 11-year old pitch well, and then struggle and pitch good, there had been one thing missing. A meltdown. He’s had them before. He’s 11. It’s expected.
I just didn’t expect to see it a little over a week ago.
In a game where his teammates played great and they had a chance to beat the top team in the league, my son had his worst game of the season. Facing a group of kids that he’d fanned the week before, he couldn’t find the strike zone. The last time I saw him pitch this poorly was on a night several years ago where my wife got so upset with the calls behind the plate that she blessed out an umpire after the game. (I will probably be in the doghouse for bringing that up.)
After the game was over, my son held it in until reaching the car before collapsing into a mound of tears. He refused to leave the car when we got home. I left him alone, returning ten minutes later, and found him on the steps in the garage that lead into the house. I sat down next to him, and he leaned on me and continued to bawl.
I tried to console him, saying that his favorite player, Craig Kimbrel, was now blowing saves. He responded that he doesn’t like Craig Kimbrel anymore because he found out the Kimbrel’s favorite team is Alabama. I told him that the Braves starting rotation, who has pitched well this season, really blew it in Detroit. He didn’t care.
Still, part of me was proud of him. In previous seasons, he would have gotten mad in the dugout. He kept his emotions in check until he was away from his teammates.
My son was able to move on, regaining a bit of his smile. He spent a night with friends, which improved his mood even more. He’s practiced hard at home and ready to pitch again. One thing has changed however.
His new favorite player is Evan Gattis.