Happy birthday, Mom

My son at the Pre-Tryout Clinic

My son at the pre-tryout clinic. Photo by Matthew Stern.

Saturday, January 10 would have been my mother’s 80th birthday. I spent it with an activity that she loved, baseball.

We had a pre-tryout clinic for the 8–12 year olds in our league. It was an idea that I came up with. I saw many younger players go to a tryout, not knowing what to expect or what to do. I thought that a clinic would be a great way to get the kids ready and to let older kids shake off the rust after the holidays.

On the whole, the event turned out to be a success. We had 46 kids show up, most of them signing up a few days before. When we found that one of the fields wasn’t ready to use, we made adjustments in the program so it was more like an actual tryout. I think the parents and kids enjoyed the social aspect of it. They had a chance to get together and play baseball again.

Baseball wasn’t the only thing on my mind. I remembered how my mom volunteered in PTA so that she can make a difference for the kids in our elementary school. She began the TAP program so parents can volunteer as teacher assistants in the classroom. She campaigned for state propositions to make classrooms safer in earthquakes. Eventually, she was elected PTA president. She gave a lot of her time so we kids can learn.

I gained from my mom an appreciation for volunteering as well as an appreciation of baseball. The greatest reward that comes from volunteering is seeing how it benefits others. And the benefits can continue long after you’re gone. Students at Vanalden Elementary may still be enjoying the safer classrooms and getting help from teacher assistants because of the work she started 40 years ago.

So I spent mom’s 80th birthday enjoying baseball and helping kids enjoy it as well. I think she would have approved.