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My hubby was released last Spring Training. He ended up playing a season in Indy ball as a starter – he hasn’t started since his first pro season, 5 years ago – and did considerably well. But, as the luck of the draw would have it, no call came. I was really worried about how he would handle his cleats being hung up for him. I think we all secretly wonder what that day will be like. Let’s face it. Our men are lovers of the field. So when that field is stripped of them, things can get ugly, quick.
I did my wifely duties; encouraged, supported, suggested. But here’s where I find myself landed in this moment. What he needed from me really wasn’t another cheerleader reminding him of what was. He just needed me to be by his side, trust his decisions and understand that the sour taste in his mouth really wasn’t from not getting a call, but rather for all the junk he went through years before. If your player is anything like mine, he doesn’t talk much about the business of baseball. And we all know, that’s really all it’s becoming. A business. There are business transactions and decisions made daily that make no sense to the worker. I’m slowly finding out more things that utterly churn my stomach and make me want to lose my Christian values on a few people. The game of baseball is a beautiful thing. The business of baseball is dirty. Dirtier than any of us ladies will ever know, thanks to our good men protecting us from the really ugly things they have seen. These guys go through more drama than a locker room full of 9th grade girls with self image issues and senior boy crushes. They work their butts off for a chance to be “the guy.” They play ring- around-the-rosie daily, and not a one of them dishes the crow they are served back. So if you find yourself in a weird place of not knowing whether to push your man to keep playing or encourage him to run, just know that when the time comes, whether it’s by their choosing or not, they will know when it’s right to walk away. They will know when they don’t want to be just another business transaction. That doesn’t mean that it will come easy and that they won’t miss it. But rest assured that bigger and better things are still out there. Trust the decision to take a season or two, or three, or all off. And when they do walk, that love for the game never leaves. I love seeing the childlike love he started with back as he starts working with young players learning to love the game. Right now, in our life, the game of baseball is played the way it was meant to be.
For those of you still trudging along on the journey or who have just begun, I hope this season brings many triumphs and excitement as you travel, that you meet new faces and enjoy new experiences. One day the ride will be over. Even the big boys have to walk at some point. Make sure you savor every second so you, too, can walk away with your head held high. Right next to the man that battled it all for the love of the game.