We are so excited for A.J. who recently was invited to try out for a PONY league baseball team! This is an age 10 team, so A.J. was one of the youngest at the try-outs (he just turned eight in March!) We got the call today, and he made the final cut - he is now officially on the team!
This is definitely going to challenge him. I saw all the boys during try-outs, and wow, there were some really good players. I believe about 20 boys tried out, and they only took 12 for the team, so we are very impressed with A.J. for making the cut. I woke him up this morning to tell him the good news, and his smile just made my morning. He was so excited, and a bit surprised. He honestly didn't think he'd make it onto the team.
The try-outs were a bit intense for him. During the second and final try-out day, he came up to me and said, "Mom...I don't think the coach is going to pick me. Do you see how these guys play? They're really good! And they are all older than me." Then he took his voice down a notch, leaned into me and said, "See that one guy over there? He has armpit hair!" (I guess that's intimidating for an eight year old!)
And so I said, "Yep, there's some good players out there. And it's true that they are older than you. But there's nothing you can do about those others guys and how they play. You can only control your own game. You are a good baseball player. Do your very best. That's all you can do."
So he continued on with the try-out, and at one point he got a bit discouraged after making a few errors, and he started to have attitude; kicking the dirt, keeping his arms crossed while in the outfield, etc. I could see the anger on his face, and it was affecting his play. So I called him over to the fence and I whispered in his ear, "Listen to me. If you don't make it onto this team it's because of your ATTITUDE, not your skill. So you just better change your negative attitude right now, mister. Do you understand?" and he made a face, mumbled something under his breath, then said, "fine!" and walked back onto the field.
I was a bit rough but it's only because I know my kid. He needed a good kick to the rear right then and there. So I gave it to him (well, minus the kick to the rear)
Anyway, he went on after that to have a better try-out -- and ultimately made it onto the team! It's very exciting! This team will travel to nearby cities and towns for games and tournaments, and they use professional umpires, not volunteers.
I'm excited for A.J. because I really believe this team is going to challenge him and he will step up his game as a result. And I'm so proud of him for not being intimidated (much!) and for giving it his all, even though he knew all the other players had two years on him. I'm proud of his confidence and his love for the game.
Yep, it's going to be a fun season!