My son played baseball growing up. We were truly a baseball family, loving every minute of the dirt, the field, the excitement of spring season and the opportunity to watch him play. Being a parent is hard and there is definitely not a “how-to” manual, but I found that using baseball (or any sport for that matter) gave us something to use to show him life lessons.

When my son was around 10 years old, he came up against a team that had an 11-year-old kid that could pitch 75 miles per hour. He was truly incredible to watch as an athlete. However, he instilled fear in the younger players, who he struck out constantly at bat. The more players he struck out, the harder it became to encourage our team to play their best up against him when his team played us.

This came to a head one evening after a game when my son, who like the rest of his team, had struck out against this great pitcher and said those words that no parent likes to hear…“I can’t.”

I reminded myself then that I was not raising a son to tell the world “I can’t” but rather “I can.”

I awoke the next Saturday morning and told my son that we were going to the batting cages. He asked me why and I told him that we were going to work on his fast ball. He loved the batting cages, however, again, he said, “I can’t hit against him, Momma.” I told him, “Yes, you CAN!”

We got to the cages and started warming up. I then told him that I was going to switch to fast pitch. After a few pitches and strike outs, he again said, “I can’t, Momma.”

I then told him, “If I can do it, will you?” and he laughed. Ooooooooh k. Hmmph.

I went and got a batting helmet and bat and started praying like crazy. You see I played softball growing up, but it had been a while since I swung a bat and our softball was before this awesome crazy fast pitch stuff you see now in the softball world.

I entered the batting cage. The first swing was a strike and I heard that little voice behind me say, “See??”. Ugh.

I again prayed and got the timing in my head. The second pitch I swung with everything and nailed that fast pitch. I turned around to see his eyes about to pop out of his head.

I again swung for the third pitch and slammed the ball again. All the while thinking, “Thank you, Jesus” in my head.

I decided not to push my luck and walked out of the cage. I looked at my son and said, “Now, are you gonna let a girl beat ya?”

In marched my son and for the next hour got his timing perfect and confidence back. Seeing the confidence restored was the best part.

Two days later we went up against that same team with the 11-year-old pitcher. My son looked at me before he batted and I told him, “Just take your best swing. You’ve got this.”

He was the only one that hit off that player that night.

Life throws us fast balls. And some of them are just so hard to swing back at. However, it is all about timing.

Never give up and learn to take your best swing. Get back in the batter’s box of life. And swing for everything you are worth.

When you connect, you will see what the world has to offer.

Sissy Slater resides in New Bern, NC with her husband, 3 dogs, 2 cats, chickens and horses.





Image courtesy of Eduardo Balderas.