Monday, July 18, 2011

Wrapping up D7

We made it back to Fort Worth last night after four days in Waco for Branson's Sectionals tournament. With six weeks or so of daily practices and successful tournament play under their belts, his team won District and then headed to Waco with high hopes of securing the Sectional title, which would allow us to be back in Fort Worth for the State tourney this week.

Unfortunately, we didn't quite secure the championship. We lost (badly) to a Waco team last night, and drove home a little shocked and awed by Midway batters. Branson pitched the first couple of innings, and his coach had to console him on the mound after the third home run was hit off of him. By the time the fifth home run was hit (with Bran already in the dugout, head in his hands), our coach simply laughed. It really was an unbelievable performance by the opposing team, especially since our team was a pretty darn good competitor.

We've had quite a bit of success this season, so it's probably healthy to endure a humbling loss like last night's every once in a while. Just wish it wouldn't have been the manner of exit for our District season.

By the time we drove home, ate a little snack, visited a bit with our precious neighbor and her boyfriend, and got kids settled, Branson's spirits were pretty good. As I tucked him in bed, I asked how he was feeling.
"About what?"
"About baseball. About your season."
"Well, I think I had a great pitching season, Mom. I think I was able to reach my goals of pitching well and consistently."
Wow. Ok. While I was expecting to console him, Branson was already looking at the big picture, seeing the puzzle come together despite the disheartening performance and loss just a few hours earlier.

Branson set two goals this season.
The first was earlier this Spring, he set his mind on making this District 7 team.
I didn't want to discourage him, but I also wanted to be realistic about the whole thing.
Making the D7 roster is not an easy thing, to say the least. The team had already been together awhile, and there really weren't any open spots.
But with a lot of work and heart put into his spring season, he got theD7 spot.

And Branson's second goal was achieved just yesterday, which I didn't realize until I went to bed exhausted last night.
Earlier in the season, it became clear that with eleven players, Branson was one of four that would be rotated between innings, basically playing half games. He was frustrated on a couple of levels, but dug in and continually told me that his goal was to be in the top five batting lineup before the season was over.
Again - that age-old mom response of wanting my son to shoot for the moon, but also fearing disappointment, I reminded him many times that the batting order was set for district play, that the rotation order was set, and that his coach wouldn't likely change that up during tournament play.

Even just yesterday, sitting cross-legged on his hotel bed before the game, Branson looked up at me and said, "I haven't reached my goal of getting in the top five for batting."

I simply responded that at this point, a goal of just getting on base and connecting with the ball would be more appropriate - to focus on what's best for the team rather than a personal goal this far into the season.

And do you know what? As Daboo and I walked across the street last night to the field, our arms loaded with chairs and coolers and umbrellas for what would be our last game this summer, Branson met me at the dugout with his big grin, holding up four fingers.
"Mom, I'm batting fourth. Coach put me in at four."

Sometimes I don't know the difference between goals and miracles. Or the combination thereof. Regardless, thank you Lord, for caring about my boy's dreams.


Some things I want to remember about Branson's District season:

ULL v Sweetwater - our first game in Waco. Bran threw a no-hitter AND hit a home run. Perhaps the most fun game of the season if your last name happens to be Wilson or James.

Bran's teammates and how sweet they were with Essie

This very fun group of moms (and their hubbies!), and getting to spend time with the team families (and for TKS - the laundry/meal crew - a huge thank you for making the weekend run so smoothly!!)

Caravanning down I-35... with police escorts before and behind! 
Welcome baskets for each of the players

 Jenny's custom room signs

Glitter ULL tatoos adorning cute faces

Mark's photographs...

Way to go, ULL D7. Proud of each of you, and a real privilege for our family to be a part. 
Until next time!