My oldest is 7. He's always been very creative, detailed, and into sports. Nearly every day for 4 years he's played some sort of a sports game: baseball outside, basketball inside, or with one of his several sets of "guys" (hockey, baseball, football, and basketball to be exact!) he loves to play with. While he loves his friends, he loves to play alone and get lost in his games. He is an introvert at heart.
In his room you will find jerseys from all of his favorite teams in home and away colors. Each day he comes home from school with his schedule showing the game for the afternoon. Some days he even brings home tickets he's made for the stuffed animals that will make up his crowd. If he's going to play a game, he'll change into his uniform, set up a stadium, bring the fans to the game, and get the music prepared. If he's going to play with his guys, he'll complete all of these steps except for changing! For as long as I can remember, he just loves sports...period.
At times, I admit, I find this frustrating. He enjoys this part of his life so much and gets so into it, we run into disappointment, and often some tantrums, if we can't fit a game in on any given day. These games can take hours. He loves to report to us who has scored, how the game is going, and any other little details he finds important. There are days when I get annoyed with the reports every few minutes. I struggle with feelings of guilt because I don't sit and watch them like I used to. It's such a big part of his life and I know that someday it will abruptly stop and I will think to myself, "I wish I would have taken the time to watch him."
When it comes down to it, I think it's just his way of dreaming of things yet to come. It's his creative outlet and a way for him to put all of the sports knowledge swimming around in his brain to good use. Today I caught a glimpse of how much he wants someone to pay attention to his game. How important it is to him to be noticed. It was the seventh inning of his baseball game and I realized soon it would be time to sing the 7th Inning Stretch: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." His voice got louder as he approached the third out in the top half of the inning and he looked around to see if anyone would watch what was to come. I've seen this hundreds of times over, but it still brings a smile to my face. I can still see this sweet little boy playing his games in the backyard when he was just a preschooler. The little boy who sang the "National Anthem" to start his games, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the middle, and if we were lucky, "Go Cubs Go" on a winning game day.
These will be the memories that will be engrained in my mind when I think of my oldest son growing up. I often wonder what he'll be when he grows up: a baseball player, a sports announcer, a sports writer. If his profession has nothing to do with sports I will be shocked!
I love my little boy and his imagination. I just need to remind myself to stop and soak in some of the games while they last. All too soon the sounds from the stands will be gone...