What’s it like having your son be famous in baseball?
I always say that I’m so amazed by all of it, but to be quite honest I was very hesitant about it from the beginning. We don’t often talk about it, but I began taking pictures and videos because my grandmother had gotten to a point where she couldn’t attend games because of her health. I had always been really good with a camera. I started going overboard with the camera, capturing as many moments as possible, so we could come home and relive the moment with her. Those are the pictures my husband began to post on @thec1coop. It can be overwhelming, but in a good way. For the most part, every individual that we’ve come in contact with, we’ve become friends with and, most everyone’s intentions are genuine, which puts me at ease. You’ve never lived until you’re at a ballpark and a grown man is excited to see your son and you have no idea who he is. Your first reaction is to panic and you find yourself pushing your kid behind you while you try to figure it out. Over the years I’ve become more accustomed to it. When @thec1coop started, Cooper was 8, and we would try to explain it to him but he didn’t fully grasp how big it was. He just wanted to play baseball.
What’s your number one baseball mom hack?
- Never wear dirty cleats. Cooper cleans his own cleats. We now bring two pairs of cleats to tournaments so there’s always a clean pair ready and no need to clean them on the road. To get the cleanest cleats, just use scrubbing bubbles and a toothbrush on the cleats. You just wet them with a cloth or paper towel, spray them with scrubbing bubbles and use the toothbrush to clean the clay off. Let them air dry. At home we occasionally toss them in the wash and air dry. Super easy.
- For cleaning pants - I soak white and gray pants in White Bright. Everyone swears on the Iron Out. I prefer White Bright, which is a bottle found in the laundry aisle. I’m sorry but I’m just light years past scrubbing. I put the pants in a bucket and add hot water with a cap-full of White Bright, and then let them soak overnight. The next morning just toss them in the wash and hang dry.
What’s your most and least favorite thing about baseball?
Most: The camaraderie. We really miss it right now. Cooper’s an only child so his teammates are his brothers. They will wear each other out and build each other up all in the same moment.
Least: The heat. I honestly love everything about baseball.
Cooper was 9 months old, rolling around with a baseball and sleeping with a yellow Little Tikes baseball bat. We still have that bat. We always tell him, you didn’t find baseball, baseball found you.
Who yells more at games: you or your husband?
My husband. Ironically, I’m superstitious so I don’t say much. I will cheer on Coop and every one of his teammates, but I’ve always felt when he hears my voice he tenses up. According to Coop he says he only ever hears me say “good hustle” occasionally. Usually I head to the outfield and start taking pictures. I try to stay hidden so I don’t make him nervous. My husband stopped coaching Cooper when he hit 13U so he had to learn to act like a parent. He didn’t know what to do, or where to stand, and he yelled too much. It was always positive banter - it’s just who he is. He’s still transitioning from coach to parent and he’s definitely doing much better than he was. He has quickly learned that it’s ok to relax on the sideline.
What’s the moment you most embarrassed your son at baseball?
“My mom will come to my school to volunteer and she’ll yell ‘Schmooopy my schmoopy!’” at me if she sees me. It’s an inside joke from the show “The Goldberg’s. It’s meant to embarrass me but I think it’s funny."
*It’s worth noting in this section that after much thought Cooper and Jessica couldn’t think of a single moment where she had embarrassed him.”
What’s your favorite baseball memory?
We had two trips to Cooperstown. The first trip was planned and the second one wasn’t. It was the best week of all of our lives. I had a vacation: I got to roll up to the baseball field, spend some time taking pictures, being a parent, and watching some great baseball, and I didn’t have to clean pants or worry about anything. Cooper and my husband, Nic (who was the Coach) stayed in the barracks on site the entire week. The team finished in 14th place and lost the last game by one run. After the game there were a lot of tears - the boys were crying and the coaches were crying. Their 12U season was officially over. They headed to the outfield for their last team meeting. As they finished their meeting they got up and were hugging each other I started taking pictures. I assumed Cooper was in the mix and didn’t notice that he had come straight to me until he tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to him and he just fell into my arms and broke down because he was so sad it was over. My brother, sister in law, and nephew had driven in from Pennsylvania for the games. I’m always behind the camera, but my sister-in-law got the coolest photo of that moment. That’s my favorite memory because he thought of me first.
That memory and his very first out of the park Homerun on my birthday after we had spent days without power because of a hurricane. We had no baseball plans for that weekend, but they put a tournament on locally, almost like a Sandlot game. His first at-bat he hit his first out-of-the-park home run. Such an amazing birthday present.
There are so many memories in between that, but because I think because I take photos, they’re all ingrained in my brain.