It was a busy week, but we made it through Braves Baseball camp! My daughter was so excited about the fact that girls could join in the fun and play baseball with the boys. She walked up to those coaches on the first day with her head held high and a big smile on her face. It was like a scene out of the best girl power movie you can think of.
In slow motion, we walked down the hill to meet the coaches and get our uniform to change into before camp kicked off. As we passed each family in the area, they turned to look at us. Moms of little boys smiled and nodded at me in an astounding show of support. Little girls that were there to drop off their brothers were tugging on their mother’s arms and saying, “See Mom, girls can play too. I want to play baseball!” I couldn’t have been more proud of my daughter and her courage at that moment. Her sister was pretty upset that she couldn’t stay and play also.
All week I was a ball of nerves about this camp. There was a very high chance that she was the only girl there. I kept wanting to give her advice about being brave and not letting the boys pick on her because she was a girl, but I stopped myself each time. I knew that if I said anything that I was feeding her fear, and she needed to experience everything on her terms, not mine. I had to let go and not think of the negative things that could happen, and build up the excitement of doing something special.
We got to the table and found out that a handful of the coaches were women! We grabbed our uniform and headed for the bathroom to changed. I joked around that she wouldn’t have to wait long to use the bathroom because there were only a handful of girls here. We also discovered that she was on a team with another little girl in camp her age.
During the week she faced some challenges which I knew she would, simply because she has never played baseball in her life and she was learning everything for the first time. I honestly expected her to tell me she hated the first day and didn’t want to go back but she told me her stories and how she worked through them. She got hit in the face a few times with the ball and decided to sit out during some of the challenges because her fear of not knowing what to do got the best of her. She begged me to let her take her bat to camp the following day, so she didn’t have to deal with the boys giving her dirty looks because a girl was touching their bat. Later in the week the coach informed me that she started jumping back in after sitting out which earned her the Captain title for a day. Her “don’t give up” attitude blossomed for the first time. On the second to last day, the kids play a World Series game, and some of the MVP’s get to pie the coach of their choice. They also got to pick a coach to be covered by the bucket of ice water. Which I’m sure felt excellent because it’s been in the 90’s all summer. During the World Series day, the kids wore eye blacks with goals written on them. My goal for her was to be brave, and hers was to hit a homerun.
On the last day, the kids got to take a field trip to Turner Field and meet the starting pitcher Matt Wisler. They got to take an awesome tour around the park and even play on the field. She came home in a fit of excitement to tell me about all the cool places she got to go including the bull pin, dugout and onto the field.
Braves Baseball Camp was a huge success for my daughter. She got to do something she thought was only for boys and prove that she can do anything she puts her mind to. It was a proud moment that I hope she will remember forever.