To say Little League leaves a lot to be desired would be an understatement. We get through it, to move on to All-Stars and travel-season. Is Cooper the best? Nope. Does he love it the most? That would be a resounding, YES….. This season I’ve watched his self-esteem take a hit as he’s struggled to find himself as a player and as a leader on his team. At the beginning of the season, I was wrapping up my spring semester of a bible study written by Jennie Allen, called Restless. One of the sections that we and studied talked about was our ‘places’, and a section of verses in Acts kept singing their way back into my head, however one verse is the one that I have spoken over Cooper, our family and our neighborhood during this season of our lives.
While Cooper was struggling with his teammates and the bullying by some of the boys that bordered on harassment (not towards Cooper but to the smaller boys.) I sat down with Coop and told him what I was reading in my Bible… When I explained that we were chosen for this specific time in history: our specific years, address, family, school, class, baseball team–for this specific life, he just looked at me and started to tear up. In that conversation, Cooper told me that he just wanted to know how to be a leader for his team and he didn’t know how to do that….
I told him, “Cooper, you are a leader, simply by being you. You are kind, helpful and you have the nature of a servant. People want to be around you. If you want one piece of advice, look for the kid who is getting picked on, and befriend him. You’ll make a friend for life and you’ll set and example for those who’ve never been taught what kindness looks like.”
His regular season ended, with only two wins. The last game in their Tournament of Champions was a loss to a team with a player who tormented Cooper during travel ball last year. The ugly part of me wanted nothing more than for Cooper connect the ball to this kid’s teeth. The ball didn’t hit anyone in the teeth… Sometimes, mom isn’t such a great leader.
The next day at church, Cooper saw his tormentor walk into youth group, he found Cooper and said, “Dude, we killed you yesterday.” Cooper said, “Yeah you did, I didn’t know you came to church here.” The kid said to him, “It’s my first time, I’ve never been here.” And Cooper said to him, “Come and sit with me, my stuff is over here.”