Last summer “the boy” and I were driving home from one of his baseball games. I could tell by his silence and body language that there were about a thousand places he would rather have been that night. When I asked him about it, he confirmed that he was not enjoying this season or baseball. At that moment we talked about some options for the next summer and made the decision to part ways with his current team (he finished the season though). I’m leaving details out here that really don’t need to be discussed. Let me just say I’m not “that dad” and he’s not a kid that quits. It was just time to find something different.

Over the next few weeks I made some phone calls and he landed a tryout with a local team for a league called “Big League”. They had limited roster spots so there were no guarantees. We figured it was worth a shot. All he really wanted was an opportunity and a chance to show what he could do. Not long after the tryout, we got a call welcoming him to the Red Barons. They were thrilled to add number 50 to the roster.

This summer, I have watched “number 50” grow as a person, teammate and player. He has gone from one of the pitchers to the staff ace. All season long, he has maintained the number 4 spot in the lineup by driving in timely runs. Tonight and (assuming they make it to the championship) on Sunday, they will hand him the ball to start the game. He just needed an opportunity and some instruction. If you ask him today what his favorite sport is, he will tell you “baseball” without missing a beat.

We’ve come a long way since last summer.

In case you can’t tell, I’m so proud of number 50. While the athletic accomplishments are great, he has taught me much about seizing opportunity. He has taught me about going into an unknown situation and coming out shining. He has shown me that you CAN leave the known, the comfortable, the safe. He has proven that when opportunity and ability meet, you’re passion and gifts excel.

I’m proud of you 50. Bring it home this weekend!