I think it’s official. I am not a soccer mom.
I’ve watched my kids run around on the fields at Allen Creek Soccer Complex. I’ve taken them to practices and games — or do you call them matches? Meets? Whatever you call them, they enjoyed it. I thought it was alright, though I will never understand offsides.
We’ve tried out tennis, gymnastics and cross country, too.
But after this spring, it’s clear where my loyalties lie. Somewhere between buying bat bags and cleaning grass stains out of gray pants, baseball became our sport.
This is much to my husband’s disappointment. He played baseball and soccer growing up but he’s definitely partial to the latter.
The kids, however, have had a blast playing baseball. And I’ve had a blast watching them.
Nights and weekends are well spent at Candler Field chatting with other parents while my boys are on the field playing their hearts out.
One goes after the ball on the T-ball field, making outs even though they don’t really count in this league. When he’s up to bat, he sticks out his little tongue while carefully lining up his bat with the ball on the tee before taking a whack at it.
Our older one makes some pretty darn good throws from third base, and he’s knocked in quite a few runs in the coach pitch league.
The sound of the bat connecting with ball, the smell of the red dirt field — it’s all pleasantly familiar, too, even if I was the kid playing in the nearby creek while my younger sisters excelled on the field.
Now as the mom with my fold-out chair on the third base line, the games themselves can be pretty exciting.
And there never was a soccer match that felt anywhere near as intense as the rookie baseball playoff game I witnessed this week.
Down by a few runs after the first inning, our team looked defeated.
The playoffs are serious business — lose and you’re done for the season. Coach, of course, reminded them there was still a lot of baseball left that night. “Stay positive,” he told the group of boys gathered in the dugout.
They went to bat.
“Drive it, drive it. Hit it, rip it, knock it out,” the boys cheered.
They get six chances to connect their bat with the ball pitched by their coach. And they did. Then the other team did, too.
Boys on both teams missed some grounders, overthrew them to first base, made some amazing catches and got some outs.
There were innings where those three outs came quickly and others where the runners kept scoring.
It’s a wildly unpredictable and high scoring game at this age.
We were down 10 to 11 at about the halfway point of the five-inning game. And my heart was racing.
We took turns in the lead, and by the last inning our team was just slightly ahead. We started wondering what would happen if we tied. This ain’t soccer; we can’t just end in a tie — not to mention it was the playoffs and the winner was going to the championship.
Luckily, we didn’t have to find out. We pulled it out 21-18, and the kids rushed the field in excitement. I haven’t been that invested in a sporting event in quite possibly forever.
And by the time you read this, we’ll either have a championship win or loss. In any case, though, this was a great season.
I have no doubt you can find me again soon at the ballfield. Until then, my kids will be in the backyard with their bat and balls. We just got a new set of whiffle balls so they don’t knock out any of the neighbors’ windows.
Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a North Hall resident.