Since that day, with few exceptions, I was at the ball park at least twice a week
Sometimes, ZBoy got a hit and every now and then even got on base. But mostly not.
He wanted to quit many times. He didn't want to practice or go to the games. But we told him - you signed up for this and the team is counting on you to show up and do your best. You don't have to play next year, but you have to finish out this year.
Today was the end-of-season cookout and award ceremony for the team.
ZBoy is rather shy. It takes him a while to join in in a social situation. He sat on the porch with me while I talked to other parents and watched the other kids play a pick up game of baseball in the back yard. There was a slip-n-slide set up in the side yard, and eventually he went off to get wet and have some fun.
Once he was in the fun-groove, he relaxed. He enjoyed the antics of this cute hoppy lizard that his teammate Portland caught. That poor lizard wound up climbing Portland's father's head, being handled a lot...
And eventually landed on the coach's head. After blending in there for a while, he jumped off and disappeared - probably relieved to be out of the spotlight.
Many hamburgers were consumed. And sodas. And chips. And ice cream. And as the afternoon wound down, it was time for the awards ceremony.
Coach called all the kids together and gave them a little "it sure was a great year" speech.
While we were eating our burgers, I had told him that this would probably be ZBoy's last year playing. Z was tired of being the worst player on the team. Coach said it was a shame, because ZBoy was just this close to having it all come together. If he could stick it out a little longer, he could be a great player.
When it was Z's turn to collect his trophy, Coach asked him to not give up, to keep trying because he knew in his heart that ZBoy could be really good if he did. Z smiled up at him and nodded - "I promise."