A leaded glass angel with a baseball glove may be a knick-knack for some, but for me it represents love. Love for a game I’ve played nearly all of my life and love for my own “guardian angels”—my family. I believe that the family is the absolute base unit of society, and I am fortunate enough to be able to say that I have been blessed with a family that sets a good example for me to follow.
My father’s words become that little voice in the back of my head telling me that I can conquer the world. He has taught me the virtues of self-motivation and self-reliance. My mother has shown a type of unconditional love that I cannot imagine living without. She is always there for me, and I, in turn, always try to be there for anyone who needs me. I take pride in being able to help others, and I can attribute this quality to the example my mother has set for me. I credit my family environment with making me the person I am today. Together, my ever-supportive parents have taught me innumerable lessons and my angel serves as a constant reminder of them and the impression they have had on me. Every time I look at it, one specific experience stands out in my mind.
The most valuable lesson my family taught me was also the most difficult one for all of us. When I was eight years old, my baseball team was a disaster. Coach Dad was beside himself trying to figure out what we had to do as a team to scratch out our first win of the season, and Mom was growing tired of continually keeping scores of us losing. One Friday night, toward the end of the season, we had our opportunity to snag that elusive win. However, the coach and the scorekeeper had just had a meeting with my third grade teacher in which they were told that I was showing a trend of frequently becoming a “distraction” in class.
Consequently, I was benched for the game. As the late innings approached, I sat there, watching “ball four” and “E6” in an increasingly close game. I, along with my teammates and everyone in the stands, waited for coach dad to put me in, but my name stayed on the bottom of that line-up card—alienated from those of my teammates. The questions, “Why?” and, “What did you do?” came from my friends on the team and hurt more and more each time they were asked. My team lost the game, but that was trivial when put in the context that I wasn’t there for them. I had let the entire team down because of my individual actions.
My parents have succeeded in teaching me many lessons, but this one was, by far, the most effective. By taking away the very thing I loved the most, baseball, they taught me who I am. In watching my dad try to coach a game without a shortstop, I learned how to improvise and adjust to a difficult situation.
In seeing what others thought of his decision not to put me in the game and my dad’s lack of response, I learned how to be determined and stick to a decision, irrespective of outside influence. In watching my team struggle, but never give up, I learned perseverance. Finally, and most importantly, looking back on the situation, I learned that my parents did this out of love—tough love, and, I honestly believe that I am a better person for it.