15 July 2011

Play Ball!

This past week (okay, really this past four months) have been a blur of baseball, softball and tournaments. And that also means that I have cooked only a handful of times. If it is not driving through someplace we can usually be found eating at ballpark food. Thankfully, we have an awesome concession stand at the parks we play at and we can all find something we like.

I never used to like baseball. I thought it was slow and boring. But now that I have children that play it, and a family culture immersed in it, I love it. It is my favorite game to watch. And the people that we have come to know through this fine organization are like our 'summer family' the ones that I look forward to seeing all year long.

My son, Rocket, has been playing baseball since one very cold and icy day in April when the temperature outside hovered around the freezing mark with a windchill of whattheheck. This weekend for the tournament in Fond du Lac the weather will be in the mid-90s and likely sweltering. (There goes the super cute hairstyle that I just got tonight.)

Rocket's school ball team was undefeated, 8-0. 

Rocket's favorite position and one that he plays nearly every inning this year.

Then as soon as the school ball is done the rec ball is right on its heels. On Wednesday night Rocket and the Angels played for the consolation game and pulled it out in two extra innings to a win over the Athletics with a score of 12-6. Another medal for the trophy case.

This is what determination looks like.

Tiny Dancer even played ball again this summer. She didn't want to. She kicked and screamed (okay, more like she crabbed and pouted), but she did it. She ended up playing shortstop and third base and pitcher. She even did a little catching, just like her brother. And despite what she might say, she loved it. 
Getting that release down just right for the fastpitch takes a lot of concentration!
She forgets each year that there are some really cool girls that play softball. And on Tuesday night Tiny Dancer and the Cubs took it all the way and won the league championship. Now a smiling #4 has one particularly badass trophy.

Just like her big brother and could be just as good!
 But wait! There's more!

Tiny Dancer was voted by her peers to play in the All Star game. On Thursday her team the West was beat by the East by a rousing score of 5-6. It was a good game and capped off a great year. Plus she got another trophy and a t-shirt with her name on it.

Put it in play!
And this weekend we gear up for the 5th of 6 traveling ball tournaments that Rocket will play in. The traveling teams each year have been selected from the eligible players who make it to the All Star game for the boys league. Rocket has been playing with most of these same boys since he was nine.
But this year the boys are in what is called the Pony League (don't ask me why). And they have to try out. His team is the Nationals and they are the top 12 players who tried out. So pretty much those same kids are back at it again. And they are good. Okay. I am a mom of #8 and I think he is pretty special, but they really do have a pretty awesome thing going.

You see through four straight tournaments this year these boys have not lost one single game. Their record: 18-0. Last year their record was 16-4 and they have already bested themselves. Of course the hope is that they can keep that streak alive through this tournament in Fond du Lac and cap it off with a win in our home tournament at the end of the month. This might very well be the best season ever for one of the Plover tournaments. Certainly something that doesn't happen too often and that has a certain magic about it.

But even if they don't win all their games, they are a significantly talented, and fine bunch of young men that I have had the privilege of witnessing their transformation through the years.

Probably since my husband is the head coach (of not only the traveling team, but the rec league for Rocket and for Tiny Dancer, the 9-10 girls coordinator and the school ball coach) I have the honor of spending time in the dugout. I take a TON of pictures... my favorites are always of the close plays, the dirt flying, the spectacular catch and running down the line from base to base. Each year I do something with all these pictures for the families. I think that they have come to rely on it.  In fact, some don't even bring their cameras out anymore.

I have done slide shows with Smilebox (which is cool that you can send them to anyone and even download all pictures to print yourself) and last year I did photo collages for all the boys to frame.

Rocket's photo collage from the 2010 season
 But this year, with the special record and even more remarkable young men, I am thinking of doing something different. I think that I will try my hand at a writing a book.

I know. You thought that my first book would be all about jewelry. (Don't worry. I am working my way into that). I think that this will be pretty special, because I can do it all myself (control freak that I can be) with a little help from Blurb.

Never heard of Blurb? I read about them about 4 years ago and it was pretty cutting edge back then. I even downloaded the software and started a book back then but never finished it. I have since seen a book done by my friend Rainy and the process and quality is outstanding. Self-publishing has never been easier and you don't have to have a minimum run to do it. You can take your wedding photos, your child's drawings with their own story, or your favorite vacation photos. So, I plan to make a book about these boys of summer. 

The cool thing about a Blurb book, is that you do it all yourself, they provide the templates and software. You pick your size and different options and then when you publish it you can make it available to anyone who might like to buy it and you can even make a little profit on it. I think that Blurb (and I know that there are other such services out there now) is pretty fantastic. The possibilities are endless! I have always thought that would make a nice way to showcase a years worth of jewelry, like a 'look book' I think they call them, of my best work. And I should surely add a section to 2010 about my Gallery Q exhibit pieces. What a great way to recall the pieces I love most and have a portable portfolio of my work to share, as well as watch the evolution of design. I am going to give that some thought.

As I discover more about the Blurb process I will share them with you. But I am really excited about this and think that it will be a great memory for this special team in case this team is not the same next year or the year after. So that no matter where these boys take us we will always remember this one season that could be the most special yet.

Now is the time to make those memories stick. And hopefully next week, in our one and only bye week, I will have a chance to get the Blurb book started and get back into the Tesori Trovati of it all. (But I am not holding my breath on that last one. ;-)

Play ball!

Your turn...
Have you ever made one of the Blurb books? Share your experience!
What is your favorite team sport to watch? Is there anyone you know personally playing on a rec, school or professional level?
Do you love to eat ballpark food? If so, what is your favorite?


maryharding said...

Delightful post about your children. Great to learn about their talents and strengths. Thanks so much for the info about Blurb. Look forward to what you make.

steufel said...

Your pics are really special, Erin. Although I have no idea of baseball your pictures and description give me a sense how much fun this game must be. And what a great idea with the book. Besides your jewelry-book (please hurry! :-)) I'd love to see that one too. Have a great weekend my friend!

Davinia said...

What a fabulous idea to write a book about your son and his team mates baseball, it will be a wonderful keepsake for them all. I hope we get to see some of it. And your idea of showcasing a year of jewelery is genius (hope we get to see that too).

Marcie A. said...

Blurb sounds awesome. I'm off to check it out! Thanks for the info and good luck with the tournaments!!!!

SummersStudio said...

I really admire not just your dedication but your enthusiasm for your children's participation in sports. Having grown up in the rural midwest, I know first hand just how important this is in a child and a communities life. Doing the book and the photos is a very generous thing. A treasure. I'm looking forward to hearing you experience with Blurb. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your community and life. None of us are just all about beads are we?

Pretty Things said...

I've never heard of Blurb, and I'm glad you shared it! I know I want to write a novel, but a companion book of all the photos would be so awesome to have, especially as I rescue them from acid eating into the old photos (since they're pre-digital). You have a lovely photography and collage style so it will be amazing!

rosebud101 said...

I've never heard of Blurb, but I think I'll check it out. I think I would love to capture some memories for my children. I've been thinking about this for a while. Thanks for the information. I will use it! Good luck with your book!!!!!! I'll be anxious to see it!

sandi m said...

Yes, I've heard of Blurb. In fact Sharilyn Miller of Bead On A Wire fame has self published some of her books there. Lulu.com is another self publisher.
Looks like you've become the designated historian/photographer for the team!
The book is a great idea - great gift for grandparents, too.

Hope the team continues its winning streak.
And I love Tiny Dancer's uniform - my hometown team!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

You're tops at everything you do, Erin! A very interesting and heart-warming baseball coverage. A wonderful gift for each child! I really can't answer any of your questions, my daughter was into skiing, then after getting married, got into mountain biking and kayaking. Moms not needed! But it's great to see them enjoying a sport. Loved your "make a wish" pendants, too. Show us your new hair style!!

Brandi said...

I LOVE Blurb.

There, I said it. And I love them for all of the reasons you stated - creating a real bound book is so easy. I've done several, and I'm always pleased.

There are a few others out there (I know someone mentioned Lulu.com), but I personally think Blurb is the best. The quality is good, the templates are fabulous, and there are SO many options. I also love that if I do a special page or layout in Photoshop, I can import that in to truly personalize the book.

Plus, in your case, it would be really awesome to do it with Blurb and make it available for all of the families! The moms would love it, I'm sure!

chicandfrog said...

This is just a post full of love!

Your kids rock!


Michelle Mach said...

I haven't seen Blurb--looks like a fun way to create a meaningful keepsake book! I really like this idea because you'll be able to include stories in addition to photos. Hope you'll keep us posted!

Cheeseboy said...

Once you love baseball and get engulfed in its nuances, there is no turning back. It is the best sport, you watch every pitch.

Congrats to the team! They deserve a book.

Cindy said...

What a season for Tiny Dancer and Rocket! And Erin, I'm glad that you shared their season pictures with us. I know the games are a HUGE part of your family's spring and summer. Your kids are determined and talented. And what a GREAT idea to create a book... I know every single parent will appreciate all that you've done for the teams!

Lance said...

Very cool - your kids, out there playing baseball and softball!!

We had all three of our kids playing baseball (for 2 more weeks), and two of them also played basketball this summer. Lots of fun!! (now: figuring out how to make it to all those games!)

Hope you're having a wonderful summer - on the balls fields and at home!!

Shaiha said...

What a wonderful thing to do! You will be preserving memories for so many people.

Besides...I have always been in love with your skill with a camera. You turn it into true art.


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