LaVergne baseball tournament brought out some new faces in the 8 & Under brackets.  Columbia, Shelbyville, and Tullahoma showed up to play some serious baseball.  

Saturday gave us a chance to play evening games walking away in the win column for all three games.  There was a great run down catch by Steven in center, a run-down play between second and third that saw Patrick stepping in from pitcher to place the tag on the runner, and our FIRST routine double play of the season.  For those of you who like the numbers, it was a 4-6-3 double play.  Bryce (catcher) did not expect to catch any foul balls due to the backstop netting extending over foul territory all the way to home plate.  However, one pop up that veered away from the net and down the first base line where he tracked it, diving to complete the catch. 

On Sunday frustration built as the rain delays seem to get longer.  Finally we were able to get a win in mid-morning to move us to the semi-finals at 4pm.  

Following a chapel service on “Eagerness and Self-Control” (throwing helmets when you get out, which we did not do this weekend, is a no-no;  and eagerness to encourage is a necessity, even from the parents) we played an ole rival from years past, Shelbyville Blue.  They always bring a challenge to the Bugs and we thought we were ready for the challenge.  Our defense shined holding the Shelbyville to only 3 runs through the 4th inning.  They scored another 5 runs in the 5th and 6th which is still not a very high score for 8U travel ball.  But the Bugs bats must have lost their pop due to all the rain because we were only able to put up 5 runs in the entire game.  For a team who is used to scoring 5 runs per inning, this was a shocking loss. 

We walked away with several lessons:  Defense wins games, especially when your bats are wet. 🙂  You can’t win them all.  Losing is humbling.  Great catches get a cheer, but can’t make up for flying out with runners on.  When you lose, the team mourns together.  (add your cliché/lesson here…)  Throwing helmets earns you the chance to run, but the thought of having to run laps keeps you from throwing your helmet. 

We may not have won this tournament, but we did gain a new perspective on our team and have some things to consider as we prepare for the next tournament.  We are getting to the level now that what were unbelievable catches a year ago, are now almost expected plays for the Smyrna Bugs.  We often forget that they are only 8 years old, living a wonderful life.  We forget that they play the game because they love it.  We forget that they have a built-in spirit that places enough pressure on themselves.  They play competitive and want to win every game.  We forget that they are not trying to make errors or fly-out, the fact is they want it more than any parent can imagine.  We must not forget that they will always be our child, matters not their age, batting average, error total or RBI total.  And we will not forget that we love these guys and each parent treats every guy as one of our own.

The biggest lesson of all?  Well, that might be to remember they are only 8 years old wanting to have fun during summer break.   Ah, let’s go swimming….