Davey Doser At the Bat

The sun was baking, the bugs were flying, and the breeze was all but existent.  We knew it would be tough, we knew it would be long, but we hoped he would make it through, with the resilience of the Doser he is.

Being in the heat for an adult can be brutal, but playing tee ball as a 4 year old, takes exhaustion as well as stamina to whole new levels.

Saturday was our first tee ball game of the season, and it was a double header at that, on quite literally the hottest day of the year.   Should I have been surprised, nearly 41 years old and a lifetime living in the South?   I wasn’t.   As a matter of fact, I thought back to my grueling summer days of band camp, and knew that if I could survive eight hours of that torture, then my flesh and blood, my first born, would be able to survive 2 hours of tee ball.

As the kids slowly trickled in, their parents in tow with chairs, sunscreen, bug spray, cameras, and coolers of drinks (wait maybe that was just me), a little pre game practice began.   Just as the game was to start, the water seemed to break, or maybe the kids were just looking for an excuse to avoid the inevitable game, and the entire team trekked inside to the bathroom.   Quite the crew they were, and more entertaining for me was seeing my husband as the leader of the group.

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Davey Doser at bat.

Bathroom breaks were over, all teammates were present, and it was time to start some tee ball.   As my husband gathered around the teams, he quickly reminded me of one of the many reasons I love him so.   Removing his cap, and encouraging the kids to do the same, he went down on bended knee, head lowered and thanked our Lord for the day, the children, and the opportunity to play.  And then with an “Amen” he stood up and proclaimed, “let’s play ball.”

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Coach Doser praying before the game.

So, the thing with tee ball and 4 &5 year olds is that they don’t have much patience for being in the outfield.   Waiting on a ball to come their way is excruciating.   It’s akin to waiting for that boy or girl who you really have the hots for, to call you.   You wait and wait and wait.   You hope and pray for that ball to come your way, and much like when the phone rings, when that elusive ball is hit, you immediately jump and run for it.   All of the kids run, not just the one who it was hit towards.   I watched in amusement as the first ball was hit towards first base and the poor kid in left field nearly ran over all his teammates just to get the ball.   They reminded of the seagulls from Finding Nemo, with their shouts of “mine, mine, mine” as they scrambled to be the one to get the ball.

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Davey caught the ball!

When they’re at bat, it’s a whole other world.   Their excitement is intoxicating.  Their eagerness to hit the ball as hard as possible and as far as possible inspires even the laziest of us to want to do more.   Davey looks like such a big boy until he puts on a batting helmet, and then he’s immediately reduced back to my little baby boy, but he chokes up on the bat, offers himself as a switch hitter (yes he hits left and right), steps into the swing and hits the ball.   At times it’s a foul, but he still makes contact.

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Running home!

Tee ball is exciting for me, more so than soccer, maybe not as much as football, but we haven’t gotten there yet.   Tee ball represents America.  It’s the beginning stages of baseball, America’s pastime, and reminds me of all things warm and like home.   I love that Davey wanted to take it back up again this season.   I love that he’s learning to hit a ball that’s thrown at him.  I love that he gets into his catcher’s stance and has even asked for a big wad of gum to chew.

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Throwing to the cut off man.

For the next six weeks, our lives will be inundated with hot summer nights on the baseball field, steamy Saturday mornings at the same place, an overabundance of Gatorade, batting practice, catching stances, and we might even throw in some hotdogs and ice cream.   When my little Davey Doser is at the bat or in the field, this mama, as always, is his biggest fan.

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Celebrating another catch.

With his daddy as coach, he seems to have taken to the game a bit more, or maybe it’s just because he’s a year older with a bit more focus.  Who knows!

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Getting a high five from Daddy, er Coach Doser.

Hey batter, batter, batter!

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Farewell, Captain!

There are so many heroes in this world. When I was growing up, my heroes ranged from my parents to Sandra Day O’Connor (as I became older). Then it was my brother as he fought leukemia. When I was always asked about my heroes, I can’t ever recall turning to fictitious characters, but I also can’t recall ever having a celebrity, be it athlete or actor, as my hero.

When my dad was growing up, heroes were the men and women who fought during World War II or the Joe DiMaggios and Hank Aarons of the world. Heroes were people who were strong and brave, people who fought for others, and people who did their job with a higher standard in mind. My husband and I have tried to instill the same beliefs in our sons where heroes are concerned. We ask that they not look to Thor or Captain America or Justin Bieber or anyone unreal or superficial. Heroes are few and far between these days, but there is still one left even if he is no longer a participant in his sport. That hero is Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter is more than just a baseball player. Sure, his stats speak volumes. A .310 batting average. A .377 on base percentage. 3465 hits. 260 homeruns. 1311 RBIs. Clearly, this man was a hero to many on the baseball field, but it’s off the field that I’m excited about.

Derek Jeter played the sport with integrity. He is admired by many and respected by all. It’s very rare to hear about Derek Jeter outside of baseball, at least personally. In a day when so many young celebrities allow their newfound fame to tear them down, Derek Jeter practiced the lost arts of humility and grace. He created his Turn 2 Foundation to help youth steer clear of drug and alcohol use and to reward those with exemplary academic standards. He understands the value of community service.

My husband is a native New Yorker and for him there is no other team than the New York Yankees. He grew up a Yankee fan and can remember the stories of Babe Ruth and Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio. In his youth, my husband admired the likes of Bernie Williams, a mentor and teammate of Derek Jeter’s, so it was easy to transition to Derek Jeter as his all time favorite baseball player. Now, we have two young boys of our own and while I grew up an Atlanta Braves fan, I’ve come to have a certain level of love for the Yankees and Derek Jeter. I’m content to have my boys sporting their Derek Jeter jerseys. I’m happy my son has a “hero” like Derek Jeter to look up to. Davey’s even attempted to learn how to announce Derek Jeter’s name like Bob Sheppard.

It was sad in our house to watch Derek Jeter’s last All Star game, his last game in Yankee stadium, and his last game EVER at Fenway Park. We had lumps in our throats when we watched the Gatorade commercials. Our chests swelled with pride as we watched opposing teams tip their hats in respect to the 2nd ever Pride of the Yankees.

Davey watched one of Derek Jeter’s last games on television and at one point, he stood to hold 2 fingers in the air…a gesture of support and admiration for the one and only #2 of the New York Yankees. My husband is sad that we never took the opportunity to take Davey to NY this past summer to see Derek Jeter play. It worries him that there will never be another hero like Derek Jeter. For now, we’ve had Yankeeography: The Captain’s Collection, on replay in our house. Davey’s learned more than most other children about Derek Jeter.

So, from the Doser household we’d like to say:
“Thank you, Captain, for holding your head high, for playing the game with integrity, for maintaining a humble persona, for your charitable works, and for helping to shape the lives of so many. You will be missed.”

First season in the new stadium.  Our chance to see Derek Jeter in action
First season in the new stadium. Our chance to see Derek Jeter in action