Our Snoqualmie Crush baseball days came to an end on Sunday – at the same Issaquah fields where my son began his Crush days four summers ago. Back then the team was just a group of 9 and 10-year-old boys who wanted to play some extra summer baseball, and by chance, their parents got along well. All corners of the valley were represented on Snoqualmie Crush, as well as all three Snoqualmie Valley middle schools.
That first summer they were the Snoqualmie Cubs and wore old-school baseball undershirts, white with blue sleeves and silk-screened black numbers on the back; until the rag-tag group became Crush U10 Baseball. At that time there were two older Crush baseball teams and Crushettes softball.
They were just little boys back then. Some cried when they struck out or we lost. Yesterday, they exited the field more like young men. Some voices have deepened, girls are now cute to them, most are a head taller and some have braces, but you can still see the little boys in them.
Then there are us parents. Most of us relatively stayed the same. Steve never got over his umpire-heckling tendencies. Derek always kept stats on his iPad. I still chatted in the stands and missed plays, irritating my husband to no end. Amy organized it all. Pam always had seat cushions for our sore bleacher butts. Kevin cheered in the best cheering voice around and Cindy always reminded us to go to our “happy place” when we forgot our sons’ baseball learning lessons (code for mistakes) were theirs, not ours.
For four years, Tom, Jeff and Brendon were in the dugout, this year joined by Coach Sue – adding some “girl power” to the dugout and a motherly touch to the coaching combination. And we always remember Todd, who helped form the team, but relocated to Chicago after the second year.
New faces joined our Crush family over the years, in a way, rounding us out. I learned tons about North Bend from Barb. Karen always had her wagon, cooler and sandwich fixings for those of us who left late, never packing our own. Maria taught us about Italian culture, cooking and bottling fresh tomatoes.
We had “baseball family trips.” Eastern Washington over Memorial Day always promised sunshine and heat, but never quite delivered. Yet the route there offered great wine tasting. Portland-area Happy Valley, Oregon delivered on its name. Wenatchee brought some much-needed sunshine when the valley was stuck in gray weather. I heard Arizona was an amazing experience, even while losing every game. That was the only tournament we missed, but Italy was worth it.
The boys learned and grew. They were a team, which means there were ups and downs. In the end they finished Crush with a 27-19 record. They competed with a lot of select teams over the years – and really competed – even though they weren’t a select team.
But the time has come to hang up the orange jerseys. The boys will move on to the next baseball level and try out for different local teams. I am told that’s just the way it works in baseball.
It was a journey. It was a lot of baseball, a lot of miles on the cars, gas in the tank, hotels stays and meals out. I am told that’s tournament baseball life. I guess I prefer to think of it as our orange Crush journey; one that bonded families, taught little boys life lessons as they grew into young men and created many, many memories.
I like to think that’s baseball. And when I think of it I will smile, grateful for the people we met on the journey – and all the orange in my wardrobe.
Thank you to Mount Si student and Crush sister, Bailey Scott, for the team highlight video. Just click the picture below to play.