Saturday, June 14, 2014

Valle Verde Overnight and Baseball Awards

No agenda other than to play this time.  We arrived and the kids went immediately to the creek; perfect on a hot June afternoon.  Then, when it was time to walk the half mile up to the property where we were staying, we threw our backpacks on and marched off.  G in particular carried hers as if she was born to backpack, which thrilled me.  The bad mood I'd woken up with had transferred to K (hate it when that happens) and she walked up more reluctantly... but it was a good thing to have a chance to spent time walking with her, apologizing for my own grumpiness and spending time together.   Movement and being outdoors are great healers.

Once up there, the kids played more and in every way, looking for turtles, swinging from the crazy fun swing, trying out the new play set and eventually cooking hot dogs (smart dogs) over a fire safely contained in a home-made brick chimney, doing some star gazing, and settling down in sleeping bags.  It was a cozy and beautiful night with a near-full moon; the funny part was when one of the other little boys started responding when G talked in her sleep.

Breakfast was hearty and delicious - more thanks to our hosts - when we woke early to another gorgeous day.  My first thought was, "I'm not in a bad mood anymore!" - a night outside will do that.  We had to hurry off for K's baseball awards "banquet," which was a shame; we all had a great time and are very grateful to our hosts for sharing their beautiful property, for the food, and for the wonderful company of friendship.

Morning by the pond; so many turtles to spot!

A breakfast feast with great friends

The baseball awards party turned out well.  It is great to see how well liked K is by her teammates and the coaches remarked on her strong playing and determination.  It was the second year in a row, though, that the coach made a comment about her gender as part of the presentation and it rankled a bit.  (Charles disagrees with me on this.)

Last year, the presenting coach added something like, "as she gets older, she won't be able to do baseball anymore, but we are glad she is here now."  Ow.  Maybe true, but ow.  Would you tell a kid who just made a great speech, "great for now, though you'll probably never be President?"  This year the coach was again trying to be nice and added something like, "she has the most determined look of anyone I've ever seen.  It is almost as if she is trying to prove she has a right to be here.  And she doesn't have to prove anything, because she certainly does deserve to be here."  His intentions were good, but in both cases, the comments stemmed from a negative perspective, one that uncomfortably revealed that he sees her not as just part of the team, but as a girl who is part of a boys' team. 

Last year, I wish the coach had just said, "we're glad she is here because she is good at [fill in the blanks]..." and this year, I wish that this coach had stuck to the game rather than to her gender.  He could have said, "her determined look when pitching intimidated the other team so much she got two strike outs."  Or "her determined look at bat consistently sent the outfielders on the other backing up." Both of which were true and more relevant to what is important about the sport than the fact that she is a girl. 

There may be a point at which she isn't good enough to qualify to play baseball anymore; that's also true of the boys on her team, who may or may not develop their skills to the degree necessary to play in the higher leagues.  But it doesn't need saying, doesn't bear emphasis, and definitely dampened the celebration for me.

In any case, I am proud of her, proud of her playing, proud of who she is, glad every single day to know and love her. 

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