My son, 6, made history during his first t-ball game this past weekend.
Nope, he didn’t record the first unassisted triple play in t-ball history and he didn’t swat 3 mighty home runs.
He set a record by being the first player to stop a 4-inning game 3 times for bathroom breaks.
In his defense, it was a long game. I saw some parents making 3 trips to the bathroom, too.
Watching t-ball is like watching tiny creatures under a microscope — they have no plan of action. They simply move as their will dictates.
During the game I saw kids drawing in the dirt, doing pirouettes after their swings at the plate and I saw one kid cover his face with his glove for an entire inning in the field. That leather smell is intoxicating.
During a four inning game there were a grand total of 4 outs made in the field. That would get a lot of managers fired.
My greatest admiration is for the coaches on these teams. Never at any point did I see them lose their cool, reprimand a child or give anything other than positive reinforcement. These guys belong in their own Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, there were “those” parents in the stands. You know the ones. The ones who bark at their kids, “No! You’re doing it wrong. Do it the way I taught you!” Dude, the kid is 5. He might not totally grasp the nuances of throwing the ball to the cutoff man yet. Chillax.
My son fussed up to some nerves before the game. “What if my team is depending on me,” he said, “and I let them down?” I explained to him that t-ball is not about winning and losing. It’s about doing your best and if you’re best means that you make an out on that play, so be it. The main thing I wanted to see out of him on the field was a smile. That was it. He complained about being hot and must have asked me 17 times, “How much longer is the game?” But he stayed engaged, tried his best (most of the time) and completed the game. That’s crucial at this age — for our kids to finish what they start.
He, like many of the other kids, doesn’t understand the concept of force outs, and the first baseman can’t catch, which makes it tough on the official scorer to keep score. By the way, I was the official scorer. I deemed every play an error. Sorry, kids. Them’s the breaks.
We’ve got a long season ahead of us. But hopefully, it will be an enriching and rewarding one. I harbor no delusions that my son will one day play professional baseball. He’s much more likely to be a science nerd. But I hope that enjoys running around the bases on a hot summer day, rubbing the dirt off his pants and high fiving his teammates. Those are the type of purely joyful moments that only pass our way every once in a while.