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Local Personality Blogger
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Local Personality Blogger
Riley Children’s Foundation, Trisha Shepherd

Baseball Mom
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Baseball Mom

April 05, 2013 | 12:21 PM

This probably sounds weird, but long before I became a parent, I dreamed of becoming a "baseball mom." Years and years of cheering for my All-Star younger brothers made me yearn for a little ball player of my own. Ian was aware of this dream before we got married. When our first child was born, we decided the name had to pass one test: does it sound like a ballplayer? We had to try it in our best sports announcer voice: "Now stepping up to the plate, second baseman....Cal....Shepherd!" It made the cut. I could almost hear the name echoing across a major league field as I carefully printed "Calvin Scott Shepherd" on my son's birth certificate.

I didn't want to push too hard, or force a kid to get into a sport that just didn't interest him... but sure enough, he seemed born to play ball. At age 4, he joined a "Bam Bam ball" team. It's a sophisticated sport in which preschoolers whack away at a huge kickball placed on a cone, then tackle each other as they all try to retrieve the ball (baserunners included.) Games lasted 45 minutes, and were not "official" until the treats were served afterwards. I still have the photo of a round-faced little Cal beaming as he received his first medal. I was hooked.

Today, Cal is just a few days away from the opening game in his first season with a new travel baseball team. He is a pitcher, thanks to his "cool as ice" nerves on the mound that give him unnerving consistency, his genuine love for (and obsession with) the game, and the tireless efforts of my husband Ian, who has helped Cal wear a permanent pitcher's mound and home plate into our front yard.

We spent part of this week in Georgia visiting Ian's mom and stepdad, and the sunny weather allowed all of us to get outside and play ball in their yard. At one point, all three kids were swinging the bat -and even I played a fierce game of catch with Calvin. Ian and I are still working on Clara, who decided not to play softball this year after two great seasons. The girl has serious skills and an incredible arm, but told me that her favorite part of the game is when she gets to sit out for an inning and take a break. (That seemed like a pretty good sign we shouldn't push, right?) Daisy May seems ready to follow in her big brother's footsteps, toddling around behind him with her yellow, plastic bat. "Home Run!!!" she squeals, after hitting a ball a few feet off the tee. Go girl.

I know it's not for everyone, but Ian and I can honestly say we are looking forward to all the hours we will spend on dusty bleachers and lawn chairs in the biting wind of early spring and stifling heat of mid-summer. It's about as close to "date night" as we typically get. Plus, I can wear a ballcap over a ponytail instead of fixing my hair, and we don't have to pay a sitter or worry about reserations. AND - we have met some of the best friends we'll ever have thanks to those hours on the bleachers watching kids play ball. Score!

I spent years missing too many baseball milestones, checking my phone from the anchor desk during evening news commercial breaks, choking back tears as I read text updates from the field. Now, I get to watch every play with my own eyes - to be a proud baseball mom, fully celebrating this crazy dream come true.


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