Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Little League burnout

I think I may be getting a little burned out on baseball. Tonight I sat through my 3rd game this week. It took 2 hours. My son was not the hero. In fact, I'm sure there are many who are glad when he and the other kids like him don't make it to the games.

Tonight I was at the game thinking about how much people still act like high school. There are the same kinds of groups -- all grown up. There are the parents who think that they and their kids are the coolest. They are the real deal in their own minds. The hit of the town. Then there are the obvious outcasts. They have kids who aren't wearing the right brand of pants or shoes. They are the ones who don't get the hits. Then there are the genuine, real folks who truly care about the whole team and have kids kind of in the middle of the pack. And then there are those who say nothing, but internally believe that they are so much better than everyone else. I think I fall into the last category.

Sometimes I catch myself being arrogant in the irony of it all. My kid is being made to feel small by a kid whose parents have not been farther away than the Twin Cities (4 hours from here). My brave kid, who even though he had only spent one night away from his orphanage for 8 of the first 9 years of his life, was willing to go, sight unseen, to another part of the world where nobody spoke his language. He is being looked down on by a kid whose parents are afraid to drive in city traffic.

People in our town who don't know us don't get it. They see us as weird. (Heck, people who do know us think that - in fact, I think that!). But many of them think that we are somehow inferior. My husband and I travel and speak in national conventions. We have made international trips. We go places to train other people. I've lived in a foreign country. I learned to drive in downtown Denver.

And yet, because my kid never saw a baseball field, or even that much grass in one place, his first nine years of life, he is the one who "doesn't count." And our family, because we didn't grow up here, will never really belong.

In our town you can play on two different kinds of teams: Travelling baseball and community ed. My kids play community ed because many of the tournaments are on Sundays, and I don't want my kids gone from church. In addition, my kids probably aren't good enough.

My rant tonight is spurred on by a comment made by one of the parents. This parent came late to the game and sat down and said, "Are we losing?" And another parent responded that yes they were losing (her son was on the opposite team from mine." She said, "Well, they do have 2 players on their team, Bill and Bob (names changed)."

Of course, Bill and Bob are on the travelling team and are pretty good, but EXCUSE me, they do not make up the whole team. What does "THey do have two players" mean?

I usually don't get this bent out of shape about things, but tonight was an off night for me. Today was an off day.

I am reminded of when I was trying to explain to a neighbor about my kids. See, I'm pretty proud of them for what they have overcome. They are far from perfect, but considering how they could be, I think they've come a long way. They had done something to irritate the neighbor and I said, "I would love to sit down and talk with you about my kids so that you might be able to understand them better.

She said and I quote exactly, "I don't want to know anything about you, and I don't want to know anything about them. I just want YOU to keep THEM over there!"

Maybe the issues is just that people don't want to think about it because then, God forbid, they might have to do something about it.

If they think about the fact that every day 20,000 kids age out of the foster care system without being adopted . . .if they think about the fact that in third world countries children are being sent out to the streets from orphanages at the age of 12 or 13 because they are too old for an orphanage . . . if they think about the abuse and neglect that the children face . . . then they just might have to do something about it.

Reminds me of a song by Daniel Amos about a guy watching TV when the starving children come on. His solution is to change the channel:

For they got their faces to the window
Pressin' their faces to the window
Little bitty beggars with the great big eyes
I turn the channel but to my surprise
They still press their faces to the, window

Isn't that what we want to do with all the negative stuff going on in the world? WE want to forget about what is going on in Sudan. We want to ignore what is going on in the rest of the world. Why? Because how can a good person KNOW about this stuff and not do ANYTHING?

So we choose not to know.

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