They say there’s no crying in baseball, but this is the sport of Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech and Field of Dreams. We don’t like cheesy sentiment or flowery expressions of emotion, yet we dance around the field and hug each other in victory, or weep in the dugout and slam locker room doors in defeat.
So, how do I say goodbye to something I’ve devoted my time, energy, and passion to for the last two years?
Tonight is my last Board meeting as president of Saddleback Little League. There have been plenty of highs and lows: Moments of great excitement and moments of great frustration. Moments that made me question my sanity for taking this job, and moments that reassured me that I did the right thing. I know that other Little League presidents go through the same emotions, as do others who fill positions like this. Nothing is more satisfying than helping children, and nothing can be more difficult than dealing with their parents.
My term doesn’t officially end until midnight, July 31, but this is my last chance to address the Board. How do I say goodbye?
This may truly be goodbye. I don’t know if my son is coming back to baseball, whether it’s at Saddleback or elsewhere. He has plenty of reasons not to. He had a difficult season, one that crushed his self-confidence and enjoyment of the game. He had a manager who was asked to resign near the end of the season. But even if things went well, he’s at the age where he needs to make his own decisions about how he wants to devote his time. He’s starting middle school in September, and he will have a demanding class schedule. If he had to choose between putting his focus on school or baseball, it’s obvious that school would have to win out.
Still, how do I say goodbye to people I’ve worked with for the past two years? The fields where I’ve spent so much of my time? A sport that has given me so many thrills and good memories?
Unfortunately, the best answer I could find comes from the weepiest, cheesiest, and most sentimental of places: musical theatre.
To me, “For Good” from the musical Wicked is the perfect expression of goodbye. It’s about showing appreciation for all another has done for you. It’s about asking forgiveness for the hurts you have caused and forgiving those who hurt you. It recognizes that we are changed by everyone who comes into our lives. By appreciating and forgiving others, all of these changes can be for the good.
Of course, I won’t break into song tonight. But I can keep those thoughts and feelings in mind as I simply say, “Thank you and good luck.”