A remotely related post: the summer real estate season is off to a great start. I was very busy the past week, but after my open house Sunday afternoon I was able to take a break to enjoy my son’s All-Star tournament game – he was selected to the 9/10 year-old Little League All Star team for 4S Ranch, and they have been practicing 2 hours daily for the past 2 weeks. At this age they are well past the “cute” stage, they have excellent baseball skills, and they don’t carry the egos or attitude that seem to accompany puberty. These boys are just out to compete and play the game they love. There is no free agency, no million dollar contracts to play for, no personal agendas. No blame gets passed around if there’s an error. I’ll often see a player cry, or sulk if he makes a bad play or has a bad at-bat (yes, there is crying in baseball) but his teammates always go over to help cheer him up with a pat on the back – or some Skittles. You can’t help but get emotionally attached at this point, but sadly one of these team’s seasons will have to end.

The games are only 6 innings long, so every inning counts. There’s little time to fall behind and hope for a comeback, and the 4S Ranch All-Stars were down 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th to the Rancho Santa Fe All-Stars. Down to their last strike, I admittedly was preparing my “maybe next time” talk for my son, but 4S Ranch miraculously tied the game and forced extra innings – the few dozen fans/parents in the “stadium” went wild! The boys returned to the field with new life!

However, that excitement quickly faded back to hope as RSF scored a run in the top of the 7th. There was an older lady walking her dog who stopped to watch the game and she turned to me and asked if there were games like this at the park everyday. All of the momentum had shifted back to RSF as the 4S Ranch boys slowly returned to the dugout for what was possibly the last time as a team. The dominant RSF pitcher seemed to have renewed energy as he took the mound. Did 4S have enough in the tank to score again? The boys turned their hats inside out into “rally caps”. The “rally beard” (don’t ask) even made an appearance. Sure enough, down to their last out, the boys focused and clawed and scratched out another game-tying run, and with the bases-loaded, scored the winning run on a passed-ball. It was the worst way to win, but the celebration was magical. It was as if they won the World Series but instead of the champagne shower it was going to be donuts and ice cream sundaes. It was pure joy.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of tears in the RSF dugout and their pitcher was huddled over with his head down to try to hide his emotions. It’s something no parent would want their kid to experience. Although school is out, it’s another lesson the 4S Ranch boys might have to learn in the near future – unless they win their next 7 games.

If you want to watch some real baseball and support the 4S Ranch All Stars, their next game is Wednesday 6/25, 5:30p at Sage Canyon Park in Del Mar. After watching them, it inspired me for a great start to the week.