Running to Third & Other All-Star Moments

September 19, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Sometimes the big picture of parenting can be overwhelming. Taking the time to enjoy and celebrate individual moments is so important — a lesson I continually learn from my always in-the-moment son.

All-Star Moments Embassy Suites

This past spring, Jon played on his first baseball team. We were excited to have found a county league that emphasized fun and learning, with each practice ending in an unofficial “game” that only loosely adhered to big league rules.

While never much of a jock myself, I have fantasized about being a Cool Sports Dad. The emphasis on “Cool” — not the hot-headed kind of dad that screams obscenities at umpires and such. There are plenty of other things to hound my kid about (flushing, for example), so Papa and I were looking forward to his first team sports experience being on the low-pressure end.

The season had lots of stops-and-starts, with several rain delays and a week skipped for holidays, but the last game day finally arrived. Not unexpectedly, there was a much higher percentage of parents in attendance — and I imagine expectations (real or imagined) weighed heavier upon the players’ sweaty heads. I hung back for most of the game, only walking up to the fence to encourage and cheer when Jon was up to bat. The innings consisted of each child getting to bat once, with unlimited strikes until they got a hit.

As the game wrapped up, it became apparent that Jon would be the final player at bat. Even with the loosey-goosey rules, my heart quickened a bit — nervous for him, excited for me (or probably the opposite).

Witness this epic, all-star moment that ended my son’s final game of the season…

My son puts his whole self into it — his swing spinning him and his too-large bat and helmet a full 360 degrees. Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. …IT’S A HIT!

You can hear me yelling “RUN! RUN! RUN! RUN!” along with a coach or two and possibly some other parents. Like the oversized equipment, the too-large chorus of voices spun him around in confusion, resulting in a semi-beeline for third base. My initial frustration aside, there was nothing but high-fives and hugs for our twirly-whirly, game-winning slugger.

Proud as I was of my son’s efforts at game’s end, my favorite moment was when the kids received their trophies. They were small and plastic, but the coaches added a bit of ceremony by calling each player’s names to come up to receive the participation award. A couple of the kids commented on how the trophies were similar to last year’s; other kids just smiled; some looked weary and ready for ice cream. But when my six-year-old was handed his trophy, he grinned form ear-to-ear, thrust it over his head and exclaimed, “YEAH! I GOT MY FIRST TROPHY!”

Jon’s revelry elicited smiles and laughter from the other parents looking on, and my grin mirrored his at the unfiltered enjoyment. He didn’t seem to notice (or care) that some teammates were getting a second trophy, or that others’ responses were more measured. I’m too often guilty of basing my own reactions on those around me, lest I come off as naive or novice. But on a steamy June afternoon, my son reminded me how to enjoy life with gusto — base order and other peoples’ opinions be damned.

All-Star Moments Embassy Suites

My little all-star and his teammates, trophies held high.

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WHAT ALL-STAR MOMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Share a photo in Embassy Suite’s All-Star Moments gallery for your chance to win a free night’s stay at any Embassy Suites in the United States — with a grand prize of a free night’s stay for the entire team!

Upload your photos (up to one per day) at www.embassyallstars.com. One winner will be awarded each day between now and September 27th. Get full contest details here.

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Disclaimer: I partnered with Embassy Suites for this post, however all opinions are my own. For more family travel tips, visit embassytravelhacks.hilton.com.

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