As I sit in this recliner and reflect on the night I could not be prouder of the man who sits to my right. Today was game two for the South Bend Silver Hawks, so not quite opening day, but the first outing for starting pitcher Daniel Watts.
When I arrived at the field, I knew what was on the line for my husband tonight. His first outing in his first full professional year. It sounds over-dramatic, but once you understand the implications of each outing for the players on the field– it’s hard not to.
As I saw #32 take the mound and complete his warm up tosses, I had a sense of peace coupled with nervous excitement. He is always pretty consistent, but for obvious reasons, this season seems so much more significant.
He had a bit of a shaky first inning, but I knew as soon as he worked out of it, he would find his groove. He did just that. Six innings, five strike outs and only two hits, with one earned run on the night. He was on fire, despite the temperature dipping down to 30 degrees.
I couldn’t be more proud in the stands when they announced D as the player of the game. He works so hard and God has blessed him tremendously with opportunities and continued success.
I will say, despite Daniel’s success tonight, I know how easy it is to be on the other side. I couldn’t help but feel for the opposing starter as he walked batter after batter and was pulled in the third. I used to be so harsh, but now I understand the potential implications of a bad outing on a minor league baseball player. The reality is he could have just been issued his release papers and be trying to figure out how to get home right now. I don’t know the guy and hope this isn’t the case, but in this business — it really happens.
I am not ignorant to the fact that at some point this season, we will be coming home in complete silence after a not-so-good outing. It happens. It’s the nature of sports. But, as long as he continues to find his validation in God and not what the stat sheet says, we should be in good shape.
I won’t lie, I stood up and cheered obnoxiously when they announced his name for player of the game and had a huge smile for every text I got from family and friends about his outing. He deserves every ‘good job’ he gets, but he typically zones everything out to keep his eye on the prize. Never losing focus on the next challenge to overcome. I admire that about him.
I am blessed to have a friend from college whose hometown is just 20 minutes from the field. She has amazing parents and her mom came to South Bend tonight and showed me around. I am so glad she did because I saw an entirely different side of this place that I never knew existed. I saw plenty of non-sketchy places that really changed my perception of my current home. There is something about a familiar face in an unknown town that really changes your mood.
I am really starting to warm up to South Bend. Definitely only figuratively, not literally. I hear it could be this cold for another month. We are definitely not cold weather people, so spring weather would be much appreciated.