Benster has been playing some form of organized youth baseball since he was very little. He's been a Met, Angel, Giant, Phillie, and Brewer (twice). That was Little League. Since then he's been a member of Shoreview Red, Shoreview Cardinal and Shoreview Green.
If you count that up, that's 9 seasons of baseball. And we always count things up in baseball. Going to practices and games have been a central part of our lives for a very long time now. And with the season now over, that's done, as the offerings for youth baseball after the age of 15 are desultory, especially for kids who aren't going to play high school ball.
I've been an assistant coach for most of Benster's teams. We've had some wonderful coaches over the years and a few really awful ones. As it happens, most of these teams didn't have very good won/loss records, but no one really remembers that. What I hope that the Benster does remember is that he had a chance to play, to make friends and to have some fun. Youth sports are supposed to be fun, although you'd have a tough time convincing hockey families of that when they are driving to Bemidji for a weekend tournament in the teeth of a snowstorm, or sitting at a rink at 5 a.m. for practice time.
I also hope that Benster got more out of the experience than a bunch of hats with a big S on the front. I suspect he did, though. And while I won't miss scrambling to get from my office in Burnsville to get Benster to a 6 p.m. game in Forest Lake, we'll remember that once we got there, it was worth the trip.