Father, grandfather share love of baseball with next generation
Nathan Amaro remembers playing in the Victoria Little League City Championship when he was 10 years old - the excitement, the months of preparation and, finally, the big game against league rival Kiwanis.
"We were like the Yankees of Little League back then," Amaro said about his team, Alvarez and Associates, which won the City Championship two years in a row.
Amaro never imagined that he would watch his son, Seth, play in the Little League semifinals last week at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex and have a chance to experience being a city champion.
"I was nervous that game, and I talked to Seth, and he said he's nervous now - it's a bigger stage; this is what all the season is leading up to," Nathan Amaro said. "I told him that it's just a game and to have fun."
Seth's team, Northwest Superior Fence Rangers, ended up losing to Southwest South Texas Eye Center Braves in the semifinal 1-0. Southwest ended up winning the City Championship on Thursday night.
"Not a lot of kids get to be where he's at," Nathan Amaro said.
Instilling a sense of competition and the ability to have fun playing baseball was important for Nathan Amaro, who played baseball until his senior year at Memorial High School. He stopped playing catcher after having elbow surgery, he said.
"I love the game, and when I was growing up, my dad tried to instill me those things," Nathan Amaro said.
His father and Seth's grandfather, Jesse Amaro, also watched the 10-year-old play in the eight-inning game last Wednesday night.
Though always a lover of baseball, Jesse Amaro couldn't play as a child.
"I was asthmatic, and they wouldn't let me do anything," Jesse Amaro said. "I would see the kids wear their uniforms to school and be jealous."
When he became a father, Jesse Amaro made sure to coach Nathan's Little League teams. Now, he's able to help with Seth's burgeoning baseball career.
"I'm very proud of him - seeing him reminds me of when I was young," Nathan Amaro said. "It's every dad's dream to see his son play ball."
Even when frustration hits after a tough loss, Nathan and Jesse Amaro try to find the silver linings.
"We tell him that there's no I in team and that he always helps his team one way or another," Nathan Amaro said. "Do your best is all I ask, and win or lose, have fun."
Another father-son sentiment Nathan Amaro wants to pass down to Seth is a life outside of baseball.
"Baseball can't be the most important thing in your life," he said. "Excel academically, be a good person in life, contribute to society - once you do all that, baseball will fall into place."
Along with playing in the Victoria Little League, Seth has played on the STX Drillers select baseball team and also all-star teams in Victoria and Goliad.
When Seth started in all-stars, Jesse Amaro said he wasn't used to playing with more experienced kids.
"I told him to hang in there, and by the third tournament, he said, 'I can play with these kids who are good.'"
Now that the regular season is in the rear-view mirror, the Amaros will likely refocus on summer baseball.
But for dad Nathan and grandfather Jesse, the goal is to have a good time.