Monday, June 7, 2010

T-Ball Observations Part I

One of the most interesting aspects of the summer so far has been my daughter’s involvement in t-ball. It is her first year playing, so I knew that it would be an adventure, but I had no idea it would be this funny and frustrating at the same time. My only regret is that the entire t-ball season only lasts about six weeks from start to finish, and we are already nearly done. Oh well, allow me to fill you in on all of the wonderful things I have experienced so far.

Before I get to the funny and absurd, I want to begin with the thing that frustrates me the most. It isn’t other parents, my daughter’s coach, other coaches, or any of the usual suspects. No, my biggest frustration is my own daughter, and not in the overbearing, living-vicariously-through-my-children kind of way. It is more of a comical, the universe is hilarious kind of frustration. You see, as soon as I learned she would be playing t-ball, I immediately started trying to teach her some basics of baseball (it’s not softball until she actually starts playing with that ridiculously oversized ball). I wasn’t going crazy and trying to teach her a bunch of stuff that is way beyond what you need to play t-ball. I was simply trying to teach her to catch the ball (not even in the air), throw the ball, and hit the ball. At first, it seemed fairly hopeless because she would humor me for about five minutes and then lose interest and politely tell me I can just play by myself (she gets that from her mother), but after a little bit of persistence on my part, I was able to get her hitting decently off the tee in the backyard and throwing the ball somewhat straight and decently far. Yessir, I’m a JV baseball coach, and I know how to get players on the right track.

It did not take long for my pride to wear off. At her first t-ball practice, my daughter decides to completely forget everything we had practiced. When it was her turn to bat, she didn’t confidently stride up there and line up like we had practiced; no, she walked up and stood behind the tee, had to be picked up by her coach and positioned, and then proceeded to hack away at the tee like it was a tree that needed to come down. Eventually, she was able to make contact with the ball and made me proud by knowing to which base she was supposed to run, a feat not yet mastered by about 20% of the players in her league.

We are now a few games into the season, and hitting is no longer a problem. Also, she doesn’t spend the entire time running around trying to hug her friends either, which is good. I didn’t want to keep having the “There’s no hugging in t-ball” conversation with her. Now the problem is throwing. It is funny because she will just pick the ball up and chuck it right where she wants it to go. The only problem is that she steps with the wrong foot. Easy fix, right? Wrong. For whatever reason, as soon as I try to get her to step with her left foot instead of her right, it is like she looses the ability to control her right arm. Instead of a natural throwing motion, her arm becomes contorted behind her head with the ball somehow being dropped in the vicinity of her left ear. It never fails.

I will end this post here and bring you the absurd in my next post.

Note: The plan to sneak out of the house on report card day before my son woke up and realized he was being left behind did not work. He was screaming absolute bloody murder as I walked out the door… after my wife managed to pry his arms from around my neck.

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