Breakfast of champions
“What do you mean, honey?”
“Well, just summer ball, really…I mean, I like baseball…”
I wondered if he didn’t feel that he had enough free time in the summer. As it was, his baseball and football seasons would be overlapping.
“Oh, well, your season is just about over. Today is your first tournament game…”
My sentence trailed off as I realized he was probably worried about the pressure of competition. The tournament had actually started last week, but the top three teams (his was #2) didn’t have to play the first round.
“Yeah, who are we playing?”
“You’re playing abc team. They finished the season 5th overall.”
“Well, if we beat them today, then who are we playing?”
“Let’s look it up. I think they update the standings every night.”
He came over to my computer. I navigated to the tournament website. “You’re playing the winner of the game at 1:00 today. Let’s see who those teams are.”
When I pointed out that he had already beat both of those teams, told me, “Yeah, well, I hope xyz team loses. I don’t want to play them again.”
“You had a great game that day!” Xyz team finished the season in first place; their one loss was to our team.
“I hope I can pitch today.”
“You will be, your coach already told me.”
“I hope I can pitch three innings.”
“The more strikes you throw, the longer you can pitch. Just do your best.” There’s a 50-pitch per game rule.
“…we just focus on today’s game. You can’t win Monday’s game today.”
He went on, “They were really hard to beat. I hope they lose today. I’d rather play the other team.”
“You never know, but really, I wouldn’t waste time worrying about it now. Just do your best today and listen to your coach and I’m sure you’ll have a great game. Remember, you had ‘Breakfast of Champions’ today.”
My son had recently graduated from Cocoa Krispies® and other pre-sweetened cereal to Wheaties®. I was certain that no matter how many spoonfuls of sugar he added, it would still be less than what he was consuming with the other cereals, plus the first ingredient on the box is “whole wheat.” I leveraged the sports-themed marketing campaign to convince him.
“You have to tell me as soon as you know who wins that game. Check the website at 2:30,” he instructed as he left the room. “I’m gonna go have more Breakfast of Champions now.”
Aye aye, Cap’n. Uh huh. “Well…I’m not so sure they’ll update the website again until tonight.” I wasn’t planning to tell him anything either way about the other game. Why add fuel to his worry-about-the-future fire? “And anyway, wouldn’t that be ‘Lunch of Champions?’ ” Then I realized the game wouldn’t be over at 2:30 – in fact, it would probably still be going on when we arrived at the field for warm-ups.
Not much later he came back upstairs fully dressed in his uniform and started obsessing again.
“We can pray about it if you want.”
“I already did.”
I was momentarily impressed. I imagined him sitting with his bowl of cereal thanking God for his gifts and talents and asking Him to help him use them to glorify Him in the game today and so on…”
“I prayed that xyz team would lose today.”
“Oh.” More discussion ensued, along with additional review of the entire season (the whole season was documented online), further analysis of standings, and subsequently predictions about possible outcomes, during which time his brothers had gravitated to my office. “What are you doing?”
“Talking about baseball.”
My middle son chimed in, “The team we play Monday is the team we beat by one. It all came down to that last pitch…we barely won.”
My oldest asked, “Yeah, well, who are you playing today?”
“Abc team. They finished 5th overall,” he answered, parroting the answer I had given him earlier.
“Would you encourage your brother, please? He’s obsessing.” I enlisted his older brother to give him a pep talk.
“You’re gonna win today,” was the extent of his input.
“I’m not worried about today’s game…” he snapped at his brother, who was taken aback by my middle son’s huffiness.
“You can’t win Monday’s game today,” I sighed.