Sunday, May 22, 2016


That boy.

I love him with ever fiber of my being. And I know who is he. And who he is not.
Eli is a sports enthusiast. Give him a ball and a game and he will spend his day playing and practicing. Especially when it comes to baseball. We gave him a tee when he turned two, and he went to his first baseball evaluation the week he turned four. And even in those early EARLY baseball years, he would last through a 45 minute pre-game practice, an hour+ game, and still come home and want to go outside to hit and throw. His love for baseball has never been questioned.
But Eli is not the kid who will be team captain. His gift is not building other players up. His gift is not congratulating the other team, regardless of the outcome. And while Lehr and I struggle with that and try to 'grow' him in that area, it's just not his forte.
Today Eli was recognized by his team for a sportsmanship award. Each team in the league votes for a member of their team to receive this award (the players, not the coaches). We had some heads' up that Eli would be the recipient because a few of his teammates insisted he would win as we gathered for the practice following the vote. On the drive home that night, Eli and I talked about that and we had one of our most mature conversations to date.
Eli said he couldn't understand why the kids voted for him and thought he would receive enough votes for it. We discussed how many times, something that requires a 'vote' during your youth ends up being less about the actual award and more about people wanting to recognize you in general, so he should take it as a compliment that his team likes him enough to vote for him. He told me that he understood that, but he wasn't the greatest sportsman.

And I agreed.
I was completely honest with him and told him that while he is a very driven and motivated player who loves the game, he is more of the silent cheerer. And he is not always positive when things don't go the way he hoped on the field. Then I pointed to two other boys on the team who showed the 'sportsman' qualities 100% of the time. Eli agreed. He thought they should be voted in, not him. He said, "Not to put myself down, but they are WAY better at cheering on other people than I am." I wish I had recorded the conversation somehow, because it went on and on and was full of little gems.
It was a really cool conversation that showed some self-awareness that I didn't think was present. And there was an attitude of humility in our ten minute drive home that I have almost never seen with Eli. Big time maturity...made mama proud.

And on another positive note, throughout the game that immediately followed the recognition, I heard Eli speak up more in the dugout than I've ever heard him before. Oh so good....

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