I was devastated as I watched Harrison hug my mom last night, tears running down his face. It was a hard game to watch, especially knowing that to advance in TOC is something that Harrison wanted so badly.
Baseball. It is so much different than soccer. During soccer, kids get the chance to make 100 or more good plays a game. Well, maybe not 100, but sometimes it comes close. In baseball, not so much. In soccer, Harrison plays every position. He loves to play goalie, or "keeper" as I have learned is the preferred phrase. But his speed and dexterity also lend themselves to forward and sweeper. However, I think he is a natural defender. Put him in fullback on the left side (he is left-footed) and not much is going to get past him. He makes impressive defensive plays.
I felt like that is what he was doing yesterday in his baseball game. Defending. The other team was aggressive. They were playing with intensity and spirit. Opportunities to make those great plays come few and far between. Harrison's team needed to make more of them. Though they rallied, in the end, they fell short.
As I previously mentioned in another blog entry, his team was the SCLL Minor League Champions last year too. They did not make it past the first week of TOC play last year - I think this made Harrison even more driven to make it past the first week this year. Harrison laid his heart on the line. He fought hard, but in the end, popped up his last hit and it was caught in the infield, resulting in out three of the sixth inning. Game over. The Mudcats are not advancing. His heart was broken, at that moment. My heart broke for him.
When I was putting him to bed last night, he looked at me and said, "There is still a chance that we play Monday, right?" There is still a slight chance, based on a complicated calculation that I do not know enough about to explain. (Essentially, there is a three way tie for 2nd place and the top two teams advance.)
His hope is my hope. And there is plenty of that to go around.
Reflecting back on my experiences of the week and in particular my radiation therapy, I realize that hope and defense have been an every day practice for me. As the best defense is a good offense, I slather salve on my skin whenever possible. I also started going to bed at 9:00 p.m. This is very early for me....so, it also means that I have been waking up at 4:00 a.m., having already had what my body feels is a good nights sleep. However, if fatigue sets in, I have already implemented a preemptive strike. I am also taking my vitamins. Or trying to remember them anyway. My memory for this kind of stuff is not fantastic.
Interesting thing, I had a skin care session with a nurse this week, who told me that my worst side effects will occur in the two weeks after radiation therapy ends. Ugh. Obviously, I knew that the side effects were cumulative my skin would take a while to heal...but this means that the harsher side effects may last into August.
I am doing well, however. If there is anything I have learned from Harrison, it is that defense and hope are not mutually exclusive. My success will require a balance of the two. I can do that.
Moving forward, watching Harrison play soccer is one of my favorite things to do. He just left for an indoor soccer game this morning, as a matter of fact. (Go United!) I know it will lift his spirits. Baseball is in the past now...and he will focus his ambitions towards the upcoming soccer season. My little defender. My little princess is sitting next to me on the couch, singing. All is right in my world. Only four more weeks of radiation...and counting.