Hey Batter Batter
Last weekend, we signed the two older kids up for Little League for the first time. Neither of my kids has played on a sports team before - we've done dance lessons, swimming lessons, English horseback riding lessons, but really nothing that required them to be part of a team.
I have fond memories of my days on the baseball diamond. I only played for two seasons, and for the first year, though I never missed a game or a practice, I never got a batting average. That's right... I was batting zero hundred for the entire season because I could not connect with a single pitch. My coaches must have groaned internally every single time it was my turn to bat. Still, from the "go get'em" while walking out to the batting circle to the non-sarcastic clapping and pats on the back, accompanied by a "good swing!" or "way to stay in there" - I felt like I was a valued part of the team - not the weakest link that I really must have been.
It isn't that I never got on base, of course. When you have kids pitching, you get a lot of walks, and quite a few chances to get hit by the ball, too. I learned how to slide on command, and found that if I actually paid attention and didn't miss the signals from the coaches, I could steal bases. Sometimes.
I was not the most attentive player on the field - like countless other Little Leaguers (I assume... maybe I was the only one) I'd spend my time in deep right or left field, counting the daisies and picking my nose. Or so my parents tell me. At least I was playing before home video was prevalent.
Anyway, I'm so excited for my kids to have the chance to play. My oldest will love the social aspects, and unlike her mother, has the ability to hit the stinking ball. My son, I suspect, will love the encouragement and skill building - and both of them will benefit from learning how to be a graceful winner - and loser. Because that's the great thing about sports, in my book. You learn that you win some and you lose some, and at the end of the day, your attitude and effort are what matters.
To get the kids ready for tryouts, we've been playing catch with them daily, and introducing them to some fielding techniques. My husband was more accomplished than me, but I'm a pretty good fielder, especially when it comes to balls thrown by kids. The biggest challenge, of course, is losing fear of the ball - and keeping your eyes on it as it flies towards your head. I've brained all three kids several times (we're using softer, t-ball style balls) but still - that's another life lesson courtesy of baseball - keep your eye on the ball, or it may hit you upside the head.