Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Unanswered Prayer

Part II

I lied a bit last week.

I told my younger son last week that we don’t pray for wins in sporting events.

I’m a parent. I want to see my kids succeed. I want to see their teams succeed.

Last week, I talked about my younger son’s team losing in playoffs.

This week, it’s my older son.

On the same day that my younger son’s team lost in the playoffs in football, my older son’s team lost in the playoffs in baseball. Seeded #4, they led the #1 seed in the final inning by a score of 3-1. I was praying hard. Praying that they’d pull it out. But the good play and bit of luck that had taken them this far dropped off at the end and they lost the game 4-3 to end the season

And it had been a difficult season for my teenager.

Moving up to the next league had been a bigger challenge than he thought. Heavier bat. Bigger field. Yet still blessed with the same unathletic genes of his father. Like every kid he likes to hit. Every time he steps up to the plate, I hope that he does

A long time ago, I developed a habit. Every time my one of my kids goes to bat, I cross myself like any good Catholic. I try not to be overt about it, though my wife has noticed it on occasion.

With my son’s struggles early on in pony, I think my fingers were working OT. Still, he struck out often. For the first four games, he got one foul ball and put one ball into play. He also got one walk.

He was depressed about his performance. He hates not hitting. Even more, he hates losing. Both were happening.

As the season continued, things got a little better. More foul balls. More balls in play. The team won a couple.

But still no hits. Yet, he kept trying.

Somewhere late, he finally put aluminum on the ball and made it to first. I was ecstatic for him. More foul balls and a couple more hits. His team finished fourth in the league out of five teams.

With the playoffs, my son’s team opened on a Friday night against the #5 team. Entering the last inning, they were down 3-2. My son came up second in the last inning with a man on first. He got his second hit of the night. His first hit had given them an RBI. Three batters later, he would cross home plate with the winning run. It was his first two-hit game of the season. He received the game ball.

So, when they lost to the #1 seed the following day, I was as heartbroken then as euphoric the night before. My prayers for one more game had gone unanswered.

With the game over, the two teams lined up for the customary awarding of the season t-shirt to the team whose season was over. Each kid gets his name called and the coach says something nice. When it got to my son’s turn, the coach called out “And to the hero of last night’s game…”

My prayers for winning that day had gone unanswered. However, my prayers all season had finally been met.


Ciara Knight said...

OMW I think I'm going to cry. What a GREAT story.
I have to admit, I pray more for safety of my eldest. He's 5' 11' (almost) and broad shoulders, but some of the teams we play look like they were given Miracle Growth in their bottles. I mean seriously, should a thirteen-year-old be over six feet tall?
Oh, Walt, BTW I interviewed Rebecca Lynn on my blog today. Thought you might want to check it out.
Have a blessed day!

Walt M said...

I know. The kids keep getting bigger and some kids do dwarf the others.

Thanks for your kind comments. Can't believe I made someone cry.

Victoria Dixon said...

You know, in some ways these events read like a piece of fiction. I say that because if we were talking character development and climax - will he succeed, will he find what he as a person needs - those criteria were met in the game your son won. He was the hero of the game and of the "story," if you will. Makes you wonder whose story played out on the next evening, doesn't it? I'm sure you wanted him to win the season, but it's wonderful just to see our children try so hard and succeed, that's fulfillment right there, too.

Walt M said...

Victoria, I never thought about it like that (about who was the hero the following night), I just knew I was happy for my son. The game assured that he would keep at it for another season.

I'm flattered you liked the way it was written. That's the fiction writer in me coming out, though I don't know how good it is for something that is more memoir than fiction.