Every once in awhile, something happens during a little league baseball game that you can kind of sense that what happened on the field may have a more lasting impact on a player than usual. There have been movies made about how a kid dropping a fly-ball in a little league game impacts them for the rest of their lives. Yes, it is meant as fiction, however there is no denying the fact that some of that stuff stays with a kid long after the game is over. Last night during my son T's baseball game, I think I witnessed something that if nothing else, made another kid's season a lot more fun.
    T has one amazing friend that has been his best friend for years. His name is T.J. The relationship they have is truly something special, not only to T, but to Angie and I as well. You see T.J. brings something out of T that nobody else can. Whenever they are together, T's whole attitude just lightens up. They are silly. They laugh uncontrollably. They play games. Run around. It's a lot of fun for us as parents to watch. We couldn't have hoped for a better "best friend" for T than T.J.
    They started playing baseball together a few years ago, and even the other coaches in the league kind of know that they are a package deal. They moved up into a different level this year, and T.J. has had a tough time getting used to the different level, and you could tell his confidence wasn't where it has been in the past. T has been a pitcher most of the year, and has had a lot of success. At the beginning of the season T.J. had mentioned he wanted to give pitching a try as well. With just a couple games left in the season, we asked him if he wanted to get on the mound and try pitching. He hadn't done it very often in practice, so nobody knew what to expect. His warm-up pitches looked a little shaky, but he wanted to give it a go. He walked the first batter on four straight pitches. It's tough being a coach, especially when it is a kid you really care about. You don't know if he is going to get up there, have a rough outing and never want to get on the field again. So the next batter comes up and he threw a strike. The place went crazy! Next pitch a ball, but they catch a guy stealing. One out! Then he throws a couple more strikes and that's out number two! Next batter - walked. Originally the head coach and I had said we would pull him after two walks, but we looked at each other and said we need to leave him in. The next batter comes out swinging and T.J. gets ahead in the count. He throws another pitch low and away but got the kid to swing. He strikes him out and the inning is over!
    I had a hard time containing my excitement for what we just saw. The smile on his face was awesome! He walked off the mound with a confidence that we hadn't seen all season. I know it is just one inning in a little league baseball game, but I can't help but think that is something that is going to stick with him for a long time. No matter what happens the rest of the season, that is probably going to be the best experience for me as a coach this year. As a dad, I'll remember all the stuff that my boys have done, but as a coach, seeing T.J. get up there and do what he did will definitely be the high point! Way to go, T.J.!!

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