The odds of my kids earning athletic scholarships to college are slim. It’s not that they don’t have talent (honestly, it’s too early to tell, anyway), it’s that athletic scholarships are hard to come by. I am not one of those parents who is banking on an athletic scholarship to fund their college educations.
So for the time being, I am going to relish every athletic and academic achievement my kids have. I often might write about it here. (Fifteen out of 15 on a spelling test? Let’s celebrate. Frozen yogurt for everyone!)
I recently invested $20 in my kid and to this day it was the best $20 I’ve ever spent.
Outdoor sports, I am realizing, are difficult and frustrating. It rains? No practice, no games.
Thank goodness for indoor batting cages and online reservations.
I originally cringed at having to pay $20 for 30 minutes at the batting facility. Surely they don’t need to charge that much for a few buckets of balls. My mindset quickly changed. I loved seeing my daughter from a different angle than from behind the fence at her games. I got to see her eyes focus on the ball and try her hardest to hit the ball. I got to see her get a little upset when she missed the ball. I got to see her hit what would be a home run had it not been for those darned nets and the roof.
I forgot about the cost immediately as well. I was really surprised at how many balls she got to swing at in that 30 minutes. Yes, every pitch my daughter swung at was a strike, so she’s not really having to make any judgment calls, but she still has to make good contact.
Our outing at the batting cages was really good mother-daughter time, even though I have no idea what to tell her during our time there (that might be a good thing). Where are her hands supposed to be? How are her feet supposed to be? How far away from the plate should she stand? I am basically a cheerleader and a good one at that.
Two days later was when I saw my $20 pay off.
The skies cleared and the umpire finally yelled “Play Ball!” (Well, he didn’t really yell “Play Ball!” but for the sake of being dramatic for the purpose of this column, he did.)
By the time my kid got up to bat, I was confident that she was confident. She took a couple of balls and then found her pitch and connected – connected well – and got on base. This wasn’t your typical dribbler to third, either. She hit it well and reached first easily.
I’ve since taken my daughter back to the batting cages, no longer cringing at the cost. These are investments I am making in her confidence. Well, that’s how I look at it at least.
I am hoping that 10 years from now, I don’t cringe when some college asks for its first payment.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.