What! A! SUMMER!
The summer of 2021 has definitely shaken out MUCH better than the summer of 2020 did at this point!
One reason being is youth SPORTS!
Last year at this time families were wondering if school would resume, if parents would go back to their offices, if our jobs would still be held, if churches would remain shut, and if we’d ever be able to eat out in public with our friends and families again. And kids were still sitting around, indoors or at least in close proximity of home. No friends. No fun. No sports. But not THIS summer!
This year started out as most families with young children now experience: busy with life, school, careers, and sports! My wife Jodi and I have three children. Emmett who is 6 years old, Charlotte who is 9, and Oliver who just turned 12 on the 4th of July! Charlotte is in her 6th year of dancing at DeLarue Dance Center here in Lafayette. She finished the year at her revue in early June, and it was amazing. Emmett is only taking gymnastics right now, so his social schedule is the lightest of us all right now. He’s just tagging along with his big brother and sister for the time being … LOL! But Oliver and his Lafayette Little League team have “leveled” us all up for this summer. And between life, children, and baseball things have been BANANAS, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Oliver has been playing Lafayette Little League baseball for the last 4 years, all while playing select baseball since the age of 7. He has unfortunately dealt with some adversity after suffering a very severe wrist fracture in 2019 that required surgery and put him on the “shelf” from being a kid and doing “kid things” during that summer. This setback included his not being able to finish the baseball season. That said, he still showed up to every practice and game, even though he was relegated to sitting on a bucket in the dugout. He still enthusiastically cheered his team on, stepping up as a leader with his teammates and coaches. This adversity (and others that we’ve encountered but won’t get into here) and his dedication and hard work to get back to the game he loves I believe made him not only a better athlete, but more importantly a better person.
This season he was selected to the Lafayette Little League 12-year-old Majors All-Star team. The coaches and players have been working tirelessly since the beginning of June (and well before that, really) with one objective in mind: get to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series and win the whole thing! Another Louisiana team accomplished this feat in 2019, and Lafayette wants to do the same in 2021. This is the ONLY year that these kids are eligible to play on the biggest stage for this age group at Lafayette Little League. They get ONE shot!
So, the point of all of this is that last week was the Louisiana Little League State Tournament that was held at the Broussard Sports Complex. And YOUR Lafayette Little League 12 Major All-Stars walked away the Louisiana State Champions and earned a trip to Waco, TX for the Little League Southwest Regionals to represent Louisiana. This means we are one step closer to Williamsport! The boys will take on the state champions from Texas West (Wylie Little League), first pitch at 8:00 pm central time, on Thursday, August 5th.
As a father of a player on this team, I can honestly say that the parents are more nervous than these kids are. But none of us have to step on the field, so I’m ok with this scenario. It’s been amazing to watch these kids not only get better as athletes, but most importantly they have matured dramatically as young men. There’s a brotherhood and chemistry there that will be tough to beat.
I tell Oliver all the time: “This world is in higher demand for great husbands and fathers. Not greater athletes! It’s who you become in this process that really matters.” Our son is surrounded by other fantastic kids and families, and I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them as if they were my own!
See you guys in Waco! Let’s gooooooo!!!!
August 10th Update on the Lafayette Little League 12-year-old Majors All-Star team
The hardest part about this experience so far is that we have had no direct contact with our boys since last Wednesday, and it will remain much the same during their time in Williamsport due to strict Covid testing protocols and restrictions. We are trying to keep our boys safe from a positive test, which testing has occurred every other day for them since they arrived in Waco. So it’s possible we don’t have direct contact with them until the World Series ends on August 29th. We miss our kids, but we all understand the life changing experience this has been for these boys and we don’t want this opportunity stripped from them because of a positive test.
School will be on hold for them for a little while which doesn’t seem to bother them that much. Haha! These boys have already grown and matured in ways that we never would have imagined. And this life experience is not something that can be taught in a classroom. All glory to God for giving our children this opportunity! And they’re not done yet!! See you guys in Williamsport next week!!!