My baby girl learned a hard life lesson tonight.
The bolts were losing against a corn-fed-country girl team of hard hitters. They’d lost 10-0 and gotten run ruled at their last meeting. This game was about 10-3 when my mighty girl took to bat. She’d struck out once before this hit.
THE TRIPLE started the rally. The cheers became louder. The momentum shifted when her bat connected with the ball. Belief soared and attitudes rose.
The picture above is her reminding me that I had agreed to sit quietly if she got a hit. I had and she did so I did my best to comply. (I failed but I did try.)
At one point we were in an unbelievable 10-8 game. Us. The bolts were only 2 runs down. I am not sure that we scored 8 runs the entire last season. To be that close was unimaginable.
Then the big ‘uns took the offense. And that’s when my hero learned that if life you are as good as your last error.
A ball was hit to center field. She missed it and it rolled to the fence. She got it and threw it to the shortstop. But not before a run or two scored.
To add insult to injury another one was hit to her with the exact same result. It took a bounce and her glove wasn’t on the ground. To the fence it rolled. She got to it but not before the other team scored.
It was bad. It became worse when her coach yelled at the left fielder to take center and moved Kinsley out of her spot.
The rally was over.
When we finally got out of that painful inning my girl slumped into the dugout. I know that precious face so well. I saw the bright red spots and the bottom lip tucked under her teeth. I saw her hands clenched and saw her shuffle to the corner of the dugout. She was crying. Or trying her best to NOT cry. Not a bratty cry. Her disappointment was in herself. She carried the weight of the score solidly in her small shoulders.
I think the weight of the loss was heavier because it sat where, just moments ago, the swagger of being the hero had been. To go from one to the other-from hero to culprit in such a short time is hard.
“You can bask in your victory or you can dwell in your mistake(s),” I told her when she came to me for a pitiful hug after the game. “The choice is yours. I can’t decide that for you.” She snuggled into my embrace just a bit. “I am going to be proud of that hit. And the double after that. That’s what I am going to do.”
She’s her worst critic. The team lost 22-9. She didn’t do that alone. They rallied together and they lost together. It’s part of being a team. But to her…to my girl…she’s the reason they lost. She is mortified to have been moved-mid game to another position. The sting of that far outweighs the tingle of that hit.
As her mom I can’t tell her those mistakes don’t matter. They do. But at 13 I can’t let her believe that her worth is measured by her mistakes. I just can’t. She won’t want to hear it but I’ll keep praising the hits and I’ll let her work pit the errors on her own.
She will rally. She’s a fighter. She’s no quitter this girl of mine. She’s sensitive and soft hearted about mistakes but she won’t, I pray, let those define her.
It’s my job to teach her that no one should ever be measured only by the sum of their mistakes. You should learn from and correct mistakes but you should never be defined by them.